Ida Nilsson continues to dominate medium-distance ultramarathons and will give her first try of Les Templiers this weekend. In the following interview, Ida talks about her season to date, how she’s feeling at the moment, and why we’ll see so many top Swedes at this year’s Les Templiers.
Ida Nilsson Pre-2017 Les Templiers Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Ida Nilsson before the 2017 Les Templiers. How are you, Ida?
Ida Nilsson: Good.
iRunFar: You’ve had a really good last year between winning The North Face 50, Transvulcania, Ultravasan. Is it your best season in ultrarunning?
Nilsson: Yes, but I guess I’ve only been doing it two years. This year I’ve done more races and more ultras, and I’ve managed to keep healthy and keep running. I haven’t had to cancel any race, so that’s good.
iRunFar: You’ve stayed healthy all season, and now it’s October. Do you still feel strong, or are you getting tired?
Nilsson: I think it was mostly in my head a few weeks to start training hard again with this season being long, but now, the last week I’ve really started to feel good and looking forward to the race. It will be so much fun with me and Mimmi [Kotka] and Emelie [Forsberg] running here. Now I’m starting to get really excited.
iRunFar: Were things a little challenging with the weather turning to winter up at home?
Nilsson: Yeah, we didn’t have so great weeks coming up here, so it feels nice to be down here in a bit warmer weather.
iRunFar: You did mention some of your Swedish countrywomen. You have Emelie and Mimmi. On the men’s side as well, you have a really good Swedish contingent. What do you think is the reason behind that to have so many great Swedish runners at Les Templiers?
Nilsson: It will be great. Hopefully we can help each other and everyone feel strong out there.
iRunFar: There are a lot of races and you don’t always have so many strong Swedes. Why Les Templiers for Swedish runners?
Nilsson: It fits everyone in the schedule, and it’s also a race we can meet at. It’s runnable, but there are also some steep technical sections. It’s a race where me and Emelie can meet and Mimmi also because sometimes we choose different races.
iRunFar: Different strengths?
Nilsson: Yes, so this is a race we can all come together in.
iRunFar: I think it’s the same on the men’s side for the Swedes. You have Andre Jonsson who was third in the Sky Race Extreme and you have Elov Olsson who is very fast on the flatter terrain. Maybe this is a good match up.
Nilsson: I think so, yeah.
iRunFar: Does that excite you to have a course that mixes the disciplines a little bit?
Nilsson: Yeah, totally. That makes it always more competitive and more interesting also because it’s really hard to say how it’s going to play out, the race.
iRunFar: For instance on the women’s side, you have someone like Camille Herron who is extremely fast but maybe not as strong on the technical trail, so she could make up a half-a-minute-per-kilometer on the roads but then…
Nilsson: Yeah, it’s going to be really exciting to see. Also, the course is easier in the beginning and then just gets harder and harder. That’s also something to consider.
iRunFar: Those last kilometers are not easy. You’ve been here before, but you’ve not raced. Two years ago you were at the event but injured. What have you learned about the course from seeing it earlier?
Nilsson: Two years ago I didn’t run anything because I was injured, but I mainly saw some of the aid stations and where you run through the villages and then a little bit on the last downhill. I haven’t seen so much but just the surroundings. It looks great and like a really fun course.
iRunFar: This course is 70-some kilometers which seems to play really well to your strength. From 70 to 90k, you’re almost unbeatable. What makes you so strong at that range?
Nilsson: I don’t know. I haven’t tried to run further, so for now… that felt really long after the first couple races, and I was really destroyed. But this year, I’ve actually been recovering much faster and better. To be able to run seven or eight hours doesn’t feel so scary anymore. I feel more comfortable with that distance and time now.
iRunFar: Has your training changed at all over the last few years? What do you do between Ultravasan and Templiers?
Nilsson: No, I have been just… actually, I ran a faster race in Sweden, a 30k cross-country race, so I tried to speed up and do some shorter, faster sessions before that. Since then, I’ve just been slow training and trying to build up more kilometers again.
iRunFar: At the top end of your training, how many kilometers per week might you run?
Nilsson: These past few weeks I’ve been at 160k to 180k one week.
iRunFar: Flat terrain? Mountainous?
Nilsson: No, in Norway it’s quite mountainous, but I run sometimes on the flatter also just to get… otherwise it’s hard to get a lot of kilometers in.
iRunFar: I was going to say if you’re doing 180k on the mountains of Norway, that’s all week.
Nilsson: No, we have some dirt roads you can do where it’s easier.
iRunFar: Again, probably a good mix of terrain for getting ready for a race like Les Templiers—some flat…
Nilsson: Yeah, but again, there’s no fast trail running like here or in the Alps where you can get still meters and the faster running. There, everything is more slow running. You’re out four hours and you run 20k. It takes time.
iRunFar: You feel ready and you’re excited?
iRunFar: Best of luck out there. Take care.
Nilsson: Thank you.