Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon race tips

Want to take on the Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, one of the toughest iron-distance triathlons in the world? Here's some advice from 11-time Norseman finisher and member of the race crew Jonny Hisdal

Part of the run leg of the Norseman goes alongside the beautiful Lake Tinnsjø. Credit: José Luis Hourcade

The swim starts with a legendary jump from a ferry into a deep and cold Norwegian fjord, 3,800m from T1 in the harbour of Eidfjord. Be prepared for a very cold swim! To reduce the impact of the cold water, it’s a good idea to take the opportunity to be showered with cold seawater on the deck of the ferry. Remember to hold on to your goggles when you jump – it’s no fun swimming all the way to Eidfjord without them.


After you’ve done the jump, swim to the kayaksforming the starting line and then wait until your hear the start signal from the ferry horn at 5am. Remember to stay close to the shore, which is the shortest way to T1, and enjoy the swim towards Eidfjord.

It’s a hilly bike ride that takes you from sea level to some of Norway’s most beautiful mountain areas. Brace yourself for the climb which, in total, is almost 10,000ft and be prepared to experience up to three seasons during the ride.

When you’ve crossed Mount Imingfjell, after around 150km, you can look forward to almost 30km of descent. The first part is very steep and bumpy, with sharp curves. In case of rain, the surface can also be extremely slippery, so be careful and don’t spoil your race by trying to shave off a few minutes by taking foolhardy chances.

The first 25km of the marathon is fairly flat alongside Lake Tinnsjø. Towards the end of the flat part, you’ll see Mount Gausta looming ahead – goose bumps, guaranteed – and you can prepare for the final climb up ‘Zombie Hill’ towards the finish line, which is most definitely not flat.

Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is not a race but an experience. Unless you’re aiming for the podium, consider your slot as a kind of ticket to an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Be as prepared as you can to enjoy it to the full

Norseman training tips

1. The best prep for the cold swim is to have at least 6-10 training sessions in cold water to acclimatise. A well-fitting wetsuit is a must, and a neoprene hood that covers your head and neck is recommended. Do the organiser’s morning swim the day before the race to get a feeling for the water temp.

2. Bike uphill in training, up long comparable hills to the course (3-7km, 5-8%). Find a good position on your bike and know your optimal race-pace in the hills.

3. The weather can be tough, so prepare clothing for all conditions.

4. Be familiar with the race course. The better you know the terrain, the better the chance of a good experience.

5. Proper progression in your training is necessary to reduce the risk of overtraining, which may spoil your chance of completing this epic journey.

The iron-distance Isklar Norseman Triathlon takes place in August 2018 at Eidfjord, Norway. Visit  for more info.


We named the Norseman Triathlon the 7th toughest Ironman-distance triathlon in the world