How a WR setting, Olympic gold winner, speed skater trained

Nils van der Poel, an outstanding speed skater winning both 5k and 10k in the Olympics, just released a detailed document on how he trained. He spent a vast majority of his time biking, doing 3x30 threshold intervals >400W during his “threshold season”.

It makes for a interesting read, check it out at


Niels van der Poel is in a different league to everyone else in speed skating at the moment. He’s also a pretty unique dude… If you haven’t heard of him I recomend a search.
Before the Olympics he promised that if he won a gold he would publish his training program. And here it is

Why is this relevant for cyclists? Because the sports are not as dissimilar as you might think and N vd P does most of his training on the bike.
What do you think about this example week from base season?

Mon 7h biking at 260W
Tue 6h biking 250W
Wed 2h x-country skiing + 4h biking at 250W
Thu 7h biking at 265W
Fr 6h biking at 240W
Sat Resting
Sun Resting

I don’t know if coach Chad reads the forums but I’d love to hear his take aways from this paper. Maybe @IvyAudrain can point him to it?


Or the 7 hours of 265 during aerobic season. The numbers are eye watering!

Some interesting takeaways is his thoughts about dental health when you have to consume 7000kcal per day 5 times per week and how he handles sickness.

Would recommend anyone interested in endurance training for maniacs read the document.


I taught a lad who was on the team gb short track team and he was invited by gb cycling for testing for moving over.

Short track said if he did he’d be kicked off the team and then following 2016 all the funding was pulled anyway and he lost his Olympic dream. Elise Christie is a knob


I love this. One of the things that I love most about it is that he had it written and ready to release, on the day he won the Olympics in a new World Record time, presumably because he knew that that was exactly what was going to happen.


That is an excellent read, thanks very much for posting!

30 hours on the bike per week…with 2 full days of rest. Holy hell. And the 4x30min at 401W. Is Ganna putting up similar numbers? How does this compare to the pro peloton?

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Yes, but keep in mind he’s talking in metric minutes and watts.



I think Gianna is pumping out 480+

They were also saying during the coverage that he was a competitive ultra runner during his break from speed skating. This guy needs to hop in a pool and get himself to Kona!

I’d be very careful to try to extract too much wisdom from that. Even if we scaled down these efforts to our FTP, almost none of us could sustain that much training. Just eating enough becomes a challenge. And I think my health would become brittle in no time.


And that’s in the middle of a 5hr ride, at the beginning of a 25hr week.

Imagine you load your TR calendar and the next 5 days straight are 1hr+ spent at threshold over 5hrs. Fuuuuuuu

Get me a can of whip cream and a bag of potato chips.


This is really fascinating to read and while not particularly useful as a guide for the layman, I enjoyed the simplicity of his training. It was an insane mental challenge to put up those numbers of aerobic hours every week.

(Post moved to pro/elite training)

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I accidentally switched on the Winter Olympics to see the Speed skating team pursuit races. So similar to track team pursuit, it was fascinating to watch. Certainly cross-over in racing approaches and I suspect training.

At Threshold? Or for 30min?

How heavy is NvdP?

(I haven’t read the article, but absolutely will do. I love the fact that he’s actually showing his hand. So many pro’s say they will, but won’t. Or coaches talk in vague generalities thinking we’ll come and beat their genetic freaks just by adding in some particular workout. /Rant)

I find it interesting how he does all this training for a 12:30 race. Also, during his Aerobic Season it seems he does zero high intensity. In fact he says “I believed it was not to be efficient to do high intensity work all year around.” Then in his Threshold Season he does threshold, and a lot of it, 5 days a week straight. Kinda blows the 80/20, polarized thing out of the water. He’s a freak (obviously meant as a complement).


80-85kgs. Makes the power numbers more reasonable, especially at sea level. But still a crazy amount of time spend at moderate z2 intensities.


Numbers are scary but not world tour scary. We have seen worse.
However the program is nuts. Never seen crazier.
I think his party trick is simply handling the work and responding positively.

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