February 28, 2017

Ilaria Debertolis

(info about Ilaria Debertolis)

A glimpse into the training of a cross-country skier

Thomas Kieller

Photo 1 – Copyright NordicFocus

Photo 2 – Copyright Pentaphoto

Ilaria Debertolis: Cross-country skier.

With an explosive style of skiing, Ilaria always shows combativeness in her exalting cross-country races. In high international competitive contests, she likes to challenge herself to the best skiers of her discipline where she gets great satisfaction. Passionate by her sport, she excels more in freestyle. Whatever the distance she has to cover, the Italian skier shows her courage and determination. She has reached the podium numerous times. She has already accumulated more than ten golden medals. She has won several Italian championships and also some international races. The skier from Feltre, close to the Dolomites mountain range, has always a smile on her face. You can really feel her joy that she has for her sport. Being part of a police sport team, it is possible that one day she will work as a police agent in her country. Nevertheless, right now all her energy goes to her exciting winter races.

The written interview was done February 21, 2017, a few weeks before the end of the cross-country season. It was done in English.

Training of a cross-country skier

Thomas Kieller: Obviously, cardio is an important aspect of your sport. In order to improve your cardio-respiratory system, what kind of training do you do?

Ilaria Debertolis: Summer is the most important period for me to improve the cardio-respiratory system. There are different training methods. I do a lot of slow training for example hours and hours of trekking tours, biking and also a lot of interval training with roller skiing and running.

Thomas: Yes, I read that in the past summers, you have participated in several roller skiing competitions. Is it something you like?

Ilaria: Yes I like a lot the roller skiing competitions. I really prefer the uphill races, but I like also the races on flat tracks.

Thomas: During the off-season, do you train a lot for this discipline? And can you apply what you get from it to cross-country skiing?

Ilaria: All the cross-country skiers train a lot on roller skis, because this is the most similar training method you can apply for our sport. However, for me, the goal of roller skiing training is always to improve my performances for the competition in winter.

Thomas: So to prepare yourself for cross-country skiing you do other cardio exercises such as biking, swimming and running?

Ilaria: Of course, I think those are the best activities to do it. I like a lot to go out with my roadbike, to do some nice long trekking trips in the lovely mountains of the Dolomites in Italy and also I like to run. I enjoy swimming in the sea when I’m on holidays. With all those activities, training is never boring.

Thomas: Cross-country skiers must also be powerful to perform well. Do you like to workout in a gymnasium?

Ilaria: Yes I pass a lot of time in the gym where I train my flexibility and I develop the muscles of my core. I work on my strength with weights. Because I am not so strong, I have to improve my power.

Thomas: With your coach Paolo Debertolis, what do you want to really improve (your physical conditioning or the technical aspects of cross-country skiing)?

Ilaria: Paolo is my father and he was my coach when I was young but he is not anymore. My coach is now Pier Luigi Costantin.

The level in cross-country skiing is getting higher every year and it is very important to try to improve both aspects all the time, meaning the fitness and the technique. In summer, we work also a lot on the technical aspects. We do it on the glacier with skis and I train with roller skis elsewhere. Nevertheless, I have to improve a lot the classic technique and my strength.

Besides that, I’m part of the Italian national world cup team. We are five girls and during the whole year we train together and especially during the national training camps for several weeks. Those practices are always important because we push each other. This way, training is quite interesting.

Ilaria Debertolis: In action.

Thomas: How many cross-country races do you do per year? With all the competitions combined with the traveling that you do mostly in Europe, is it difficult to be in top form all season long?

Ilaria: In a normal season I do about 35 races. Of course, it’s difficult to be in top form the whole season. However, during the season, there are some weeks without races. In those moments, I work hard by doing a lot of cardio training in order to be in my best shape.

Thomas: And what do you do to relax and to evacuate the pressure that you get from competition?

Ilaria: I like a lot to relax at home with my boyfriend, do some shopping and when it is possible I like to travel around the world.

Passion for cross-country skiing

Thomas: What do you like so much in your sport and about competition?

Ilaria: I like that cross-country skiing is an open air sport. It’s nice to see new places and countries and at the same time to hang out with my teammates. Also, I like to challenge myself with the best athletes in the world.

Thomas: Actually, what is your favorite discipline in cross-country skiing?

Ilaria: My favorite discipline is freestyle on all distances. I like also the classic technique but I prefer freestyle because my results are much better in this technique. Cross-country skiing is an individual sport. However, racing with my teammates is always special and I enjoy it. We stay together a lot and we feel like we are a second family.

Thomas: How was your first Olympic experience in Sochi, Russia in 2014?

Ilaria: It was a big pleasure and a great experience for me to take part of the Olympic Games. I dreamed about it when I was a child. The opening ceremony was the most exciting thing for me. It was also really great to live in the Olympic village with the other athletes who come from different sports and countries.

Last words

Thomas: So, what a spectator could expect from you when he comes to see you in a cross-country event?

Ilaria: For me cross-country races are really emotional and engaging. The atmosphere is always great and peaceful. During the race, you can see all the hard work we do in our fatigued faces. Besides, until the finish line is reached, you don’t know who will be the winner. And also, one can really enjoy the nature and the beautiful landscape.

Thomas: Thanks Ilaria for this interview.