Noah Hoffman Lives in a Fantasy World

hoffstelvioWould you like to know what’s not a fantasy? 782 hours and 9 minutes of training since the start of April. Seven months, averaging nearly 112 hours a month. 30 weeks averaging over 26 hours a week. The largest week (the week of July 11) was 37 hours and 21 minutes. The largest month was September, with 127 hours and 23 minutes.

Another thing that’s not a fantasy is no illness. Most of us fantasize about not having to take time off because we’re sick, but for most of us it’s a fantasy. During the past 210 days, Noah has modified his training plan for a total of maybe three days, in response to some fatigue after the New Zealand camp. That’s not a fantasy.

Another non-fantasy is no injury. Noah has no overuse injury, no inflammation, no sprains or strains or pains. That is a fantasy for most people I know. Noah appears to be built out of spare bricks and silly putty. I just made that up, but I think it’s probably accurate.

Noah’s recovery days are three hours of training. They make him feel antsy and impatient. That’s also not a fantasy.

Recently Noah has been adding intensity to the training because of head to head training opportunities with both the Canadian and US National Teams. With the added intensity, his Firstbeat recovery index has nudged upward, indicated a positive response to the training. If I were writing a ski training fantasy book (hmm, interesting genre idea) I would probably use that as a plot mechanism to foreshadow good performances. But it’s not a fantasy; I didn’t make that up.

One day every two weeks Noah takes a day off from training. Nobody knows what he does with all the time. Not even Noah can figure out where the time goes.

Kris Freeman is a legendarily big trainer. He once trained 94 hours in 20 days without a day off. Noah trained 96 hours in 21 days during his biggest block this summer. Kris is seldom impressed by training volume. When I told him some of Noah’s stats he said “that’s a lot of training.” Kris Freeman said that. That’s not a fantasy.

Tad Elliott is in the process of coming back from debilitating overtraining. He knows about high training loads. When I told him some of these stats Tad laughed, and said “Tour de ski? Recovery Week!”.

The hours I have shared here are from Noah’s exercise files, summarized on Firstbeat. Noah rounds down in his training log. If he trains an four hours and ten minutes, he logs it as four hours. If he trains three hours and fifty seven minutes, he logs it as three hours and forty five minutes. He logs his training in fifteen minute increments because he doesn’t want to be obsessive. But he never, ever, ever rounds up so much as a minute, because that would be cheating (and because he’s obsessive).

These hours do not include prep time, recovery time, or all the other related activities that support the training. So even though the training comes a little bit shy of adding up to a full forty hour work week, you can bet that Noah is logging overtime as a professional ski racer, and that is not a fantasy.

So what’s all this about a fantasy world? Well, in spite of professing that he doesn’t love skiing, and in spite of already working overtime as a ski racer, Noah has once again, in all of his spare time, set up a fantasy xc league. I mean, why not? Why not fantasize about what you already spend all your time doing? Why not set-up a fantasy league where you can pick teams of the guys who are working as hard as they can to kick your butt? I wonder if Noah puts himself on his own fantasy team…? Do you think he has Martin Jonsrud Sunby, or Alex Harvey? I’m pretty sure he has Alex.

Are you f#(k!^& kidding me? Why doesn’t Noah fantasize about sex or mountain biking like a normal guy (isn’t that normal?)? I don’t know. I would even have an easier time believing it if he had set up a fantasy league of leading economists and academics. I have kind of a sinking feeling that he fantasizes about being Jim Stock, or some other superstar economist. But that’s cool. A lot cooler than fantasizing about ski racing.

I have some recommendations.

1 – Don’t try to train like Noah (but it’s OK to fantasize about it).

2 – Make skiing a real part of your life, and not a fantasy. Just make it happen.

3 – If you really need more after you’ve fantasized about training like Noah, and then actually gone skiing, you can join Noah’s fantasy XC league using the following links:


And would you like to know what I’m not going to do? I’m not going to set-up a fantasy World Cup ski service league. But if I did then I call dibs on Joaquim Augustsson, Peter Johansson, Fabio Ghisafi, Patrick Moore and Pat O’Brien.