It is never to late to be great. At age 48, I take my running to the next level and join Team Arduua as one of their professional frontrunners. When it comes to ultra trailrunning and skyrunning, grit, willpower and endurance is more important than capacity and topspeed.
So how did I end up where I am now? Here is the story behind, and the answer to why I joined Team Arduua when I got the question from the founder Katinka Nyberg in december 2020.
In 2019 I completed 12 ultra races, 5 of them in mountains with a lot of elevation gain. In 2020, all the races where canceled, and I had to rely on FKT and virtual races. I won the Trailrunning Sweden climbing competition where I did 7182 m+ in 16 hours on my backyard hill, climbing it 101 times, and I belive that this put my name on the list of swedish skyrunners, since I got an invitation to join Skyrunner Adventures on facebook.
During the summer, they had the skyrunner vertical challenge, where you should get as much positive and negative elevation in 1, 2 or 4 hours. And since we don’t have any big mountains here, I gave it a go in my backyard hill. I took the 4 hour challange, and managed to go up and down my hill with 70m+ 42 times. The Altimeter didn’t register all the elevation, since I turned to quickly at the top and bottom of the hill, but i managed 2807 m+ and 2763 m- in four hours, and won the competition.
The first prize was 1 year of coaching with a professional skyrunning coach. Being a running coach myself, I wondered how much use I would have of the prize, but I still decided to give it a go.
I started the coaching plan with measuring of my mobility and strength and an videocall with my coach Fernando Aramisen, an experienced skyrunning coach from Spain. He put my workouts in trainingpeaks, and we had follow up metings every month over e-mail. Everything I logged was synced from Garmin to TP, and I added a comment to each workout. I have followed a training plan before, but not with this much follow-up and coach interaction. I am not the most flexible person I know, and I could certainly use a lot more mobility…
The basics of the training follows what I am used to, a 80/20 setup with 80% Z1 low intensitey, and 20% Z4-5 high intensity. What was different was that the training was specific for skyrunning, where elevation gain was more important than distance. And specific parts of trail and mountain running, such as where to push on the up and downhills. This was new for me, and it suited me perfectly. The last 2 years I have done most of my high intensity training on the bike, since the fast speed needed for the higher pulse zones more often than not leads to stress injuries. And belive me, I have had them all.
I also find it much easier to get higher pulse on the uphills, so I do all my VO2max training on the slopes. The threshold paces I do on more even terrain, mainly on the trails.
Another thing that was new to me was the amount of strength and mobility excercises that was scheduled. At first, mostly with bodyweight, but now, with increasing weight on the bar. The plan has been based on my personal metrics, and been made to prepare my body for the added stress of lifting weights. I have certainly done my shere of lifting weights at the gym, but more for a general strength purpuse, and not specifically for skyrunning and ultrarunning focus.
And I see the results now. After only 4 months on the programme, I beat my personal best times on Strava more often than not, even putting in KOM:s on shorter sprint intervals.
So why did I join Team Arduua when Katinka asked me a month ago? It is of course a great chance and a big honour to be considered as a professional athlete, but I would not have joined unless I felt that they shared the passion and the knowledge for the sport that I have. To bring the competence of the spanish skyrunners to the rest of the world is a great idea, and something that I would like to be a part of, and something that I can promote.
So I’m really looking forward to 2021 as a part of the Arduua Team!
Read more about Arduua here : https://arduua.com
And my story on Arduuas blog: https://arduua.com/skyrunner-story/tomas-amneskog/