“My emotions during a race are very different from each other. Of course I have days on which most thoughts in my mind are negative. But generally I really try not to think a lot during the races. In my opinion, if you start to think too much during a biathlon race, you risk to make more mistakes."
Martin Fleig enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2016-17. He finished the season as the winner of the sitting biathlon events at the World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup and also won four medals at the 2017 World Championships in Finsterau.
Two of these medals - in the biathlon middle and individual races - were gold, which makes Fleig one of the main threats heading into the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
The double world champion takes us through the workout regime that is designed to help him defend his World Cup title and seize his first Paralympic medal in PyeongChang.
“My training is a summary of a lot of skiing, very hard training at the gym and some other training methods like stabilisation or coordination.
"I guess I spent eight to 10 hours per week with skiing. Between two and three hours of those are for shooting with skiing. But I have to say that I also train with my air rifle at home without my sledge just to training technical details. Another four and a half to five hours I spend at the gym. So I got a summary of about 15 to 16 hours of training per week.
"I don't do any diet. But of course I do not eat lots of sweets or candies and I always try to eat a healthy mix of food.”
Fleig also works hard on his mental strength to be more prepared for competition days.
“My emotions during a race are very different from each other. Of course I have days on which most thoughts in my mind are negative. But generally I really try not to think a lot during the races. In my opinion, if you start to think too much during a biathlon race, you risk to make more mistakes. If there is something to think about, it should be positive things. The best way to have a good race is to focus on the race and on what you have to do. Skiing and shooting.”
Fleig watches the races of other champion biathletes to learn from them. One of his heroes is retired German biathlete Magdalena Neuner.
“As long as Magdalena had been an athlete, she was my absolute idol. Nowadays I honestly watch as much biathlon races as I can. Of course because I cheer for the German athletes, but also to learn from them.
"I watched [France’s] Martin Fourcade, for example, a lot to see how he is shooting. I learned from him to take a bit more time for the first shot, to be able to shoot the rest of the shots more quickly and safer. Also how to breathe correctly before you are coming into the shooting range I learned from him a lot.”
The next Nordic skiing World Cup takes place in Oberried, Germany, from 20-28 January.