Check out this CNN iReport about my book!


Check out this CNN iReport about my book!

“Becoming Faster As A Master”
By bweisman | Posted 4 hours ago | Scottsdale, Arizona 56
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It is not easy to do something extraordinary in life. We all start off the same, however there is a burning desire in some of us to be extraordinary. Some of us choose to overachieve early in life and some of us postpone that single moment where we might shine. Not everyone can be at the front of the pack, however we all have dreams of where we want to start and finish. What drives a person to become extraordinary and connect that to some life lessons? It is a hard fought journey to rekindle what you started and even harder to go back and latch onto that passion. Bruce Conner has dedicated significant time later in life to become and write about what it means to be “Faster As a Master”.

Who doesn’t want to be great at something? If you were great at something before why can’t you be great at it again? I suppose these might have been questions Bruce asked himself when he stepped on the ice and qualified for the Olympic trials several times. He wasn’t a kid anymore and it was clear his goals were just as focused as a mature adult as they once were at 19. He continued to qualify for the Olympic trials for speed skating on several occasions. This was not all happening at just 19, but in his later years (49, 53, and 57 years old). How does someone bring exceptional athletic prowess into their adult life they once had as a teenager? It seems like an impossible question to answer, but for Bruce Conner it is not. He realized to get there required changes in his life and still being fiercely loyal to himself and his family. He knew he could be great again and that was never a question in his mind.

The book “Faster as a Master” shows how age can perhaps enhance the many dreams we have. It teaches us all that we can extend our reach later in life. The book “Faster As a Master” by Bruce Conner is a recipe to be inspired to be great at something. Age does not completely define limitations and Bruce would be the first to tell you that. For those that want to follow a guide to be “great” again reading “Faster As A Master” provides direction. Even better, the book is written by Bruce who is living proof of his successful journey.

Bradley D. Weisman
bweisman@inthesport.net
Learn more about Faster As A Master: http://brucewconner.com/Buy_My_Book.html

Here is the direct link to this article

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1181764

Faster as a Master Your best is yet to come!

Faster as a Master
Your best is yet to come!

This is what you (my loyal readers) are interested in, by order of preference…..


This is what you (my loyal readers) are interested in, by order of preference…..

Over the last 12 weeks I have been posting about principles of training and competition.  I can see how many of you are interested in certain subjects by viewing my posts.  I have compiled a list to show you what you are most interested in where training is concerned.  I posted an eight part series on training beginning with general principles in the first two followed by specific disciplines later.  I also sprinkled in a few other subjects about competition, training cycles, intensity and my book release.

Here are the results:

1.  Part 5 Periodization

2. (tie) Part 1 General Principles 1 and Part 4 Cardio

4. Part 6 Stretching

5. Part 3 Strength

6. Part 6 Rest

7. Book Release

8. Cycles Macro to Micro

9. Competition, Stress and Anxiety

10. Part 7 Mental Training

11. Zen of Intense Training

12  Part 2 General Principles

The top 3 were very close.  The bottom was about half of the interest of the top three.

I consider all of these subjects of equal importance in the balance of my training but I now know what is important to you by your interest.

Remember:  Your best is yet to come!

Faster as a Master Your best is yet to come!

Faster as a Master
Your best is yet to come!

Training Principles Part 8 : Rest (last one)


Training Principles 8 : Rest (last one)

Rest is just what it says, rest from activity. Rest is either passive or active. There are many parts to rest. I will address them in different contexts. Normal training consists of a few different cycles. The largest context is the four-year Olympic cycle. The shift in focus will change from year to year as the Olympic year approaches. As I change and my goals change, so will my rest requirements change.
Within the Olympic cycle is the yearly cycle that every competitive athlete goes through. The yearly cycle must include periods of rest. I generally finish my competitive season in the middle of March. I then take at least six to eight weeks off of training. During this time, it is important to let my body and mind heal from the intense work I did over the past ten months or so. I take a break in many ways, like catching up on the things I have put off due to my competition and training schedule. I am less active physically; this is my winter. I let the field rest so it can produce again later with more abundance, just as farmers do for their crops. During this time, I can do a number of things. One thing I like to do is to continue a little very easy biking and stretching.
I do nothing intense, everything just for fun! When I was growing up, my parents stressed that I should learn my sport the best I could, but also learn sports I could do for life. For example, I learned to play golf and tennis, and I still enjoy them today. Doing other sports will help me be a better skater because I will have a better, more rounded foundation to draw from. The important principle in active rest is to keep the intensity low. When I am ready to start the training cycle over again, my body and mind will tell me. I cannot force the issue! Starting back too soon or too fast will cause me to burn out again or get injured.
Because I am used to a lot of physical activity, stopping cold turkey will throw me off. It is still important to be active, just not as much and without any real intensity. My body needs the rest, and I must give in to it or suffer in the long run.
One very important element in my training regimen is periodic massage. Muscles need help to recover. One way to assist in recovery is massage. In order to keep up my training volume, I need recovery. The more quickly I recover, the more training volume and intensity are possible. My race results directly correspond to my training volume and intensity. I do self-massage and get great results. I use foam rollers, my hands, and a stick roller for self massage. I also hire a professional masseuse sometimes. I have a pretty good understanding of my own body and what it is going through, but using a trained massage professional brings another helpful dimension to my recovery.
Usually a massage therapist can find hot spots that I was not even aware of. After the therapist has found these spots and worked on them, my body then spends less energy on a “wound” and more energy on my general recovery. Ideally, a massage every week would be the best for me, but that is not always possible or practical.
Another tool that I use to gauge whether I am training to an optimum level is ithlete. I heard about ithlete from a fellow speed skater, researched it, and decided that this was something that might help me decide when to go hard and when to back off on my training. The ithlete device is an application on my smart phone that uses a receiver and my polar heart monitor to measure heart rate variability. I take a measurement immediately after waking in the morning to gauge my readiness to train hard that day. Illness and stress in my life will give me low numbers and tell me that I need rest or to train more easily that day. It reflects all of my life factors, including a very high training load. In the past, I would train right through these times, and my racing suffered as a result. This tool can give me physical feedback and validates the feelings I get when I am on track or over-trained.
When I look at my monthly training plan, I must plan my rest accordingly. Through trial and error, I have found that after working hard for three weeks I must reduce my intensity and volume and do an active rest week. I will decrease my intensity and volume for a week, so that I may avoid burn out or injury. In the weekly plan, I also include a rest day, usually Sunday. During the week, I will space my intense training out so that there are no two days in a row without a rest or recovery day. For instance, skating is like doing a hard weight workout. I will not do weights one day, then skate the next. That would be counterproductive. I will do a cardio bike recovery workout, swimming, or yoga in between skating and weights. In training, as in life, keeping everything in balance is the key to making progress.

Build the motor and learn how to apply it to your endeavor. Utilize the principles of practice, warm-up, cool-down, volume, intensity, strength, cardio, periodization, stretching, mental training, and rest.

Now I must take a hint from my dog Lilly and play.

Bruce and our dog Lilly on our front deck,  she is a Yellow Lab mix 95 lbs, about 3 years old and adopted. Who resuced who?

Bruce and our dog Lilly on our front deck, she is a Yellow Lab mix 95 lbs, about 3 years old and adopted. Who resuced who?

Training Principles Part 7: Mental Training


Training Principles 7: Mental training.

“Faster as a Master” book is now available to purchase directly from me.  Go to my website http://www.brucewconner.com to order.  Barnes and Noble Nook e-book version can be downloaded now and itunes will be available in just a few more days.

I just helped my coach Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr with a masters long track speed skating camp in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the last two days.  We had 30 excited, motivated, talented, masters skaters from the midwest and east coast.  What a great time to share our knowledge and wisdom so we can all get better.  Great to see old friends and make new ones.  I love being with my skating family and people that share my passion for skating excellence!

Mental training has three aspects for me. The first is rehearsal and visualization. While I am learning a new skill I need to rehearse and visualize a good process and outcome. As I make progress I will continually rehearse whatever I am working on to reinforce what I have learned to cement the neural connections in my brain and the links to my muscles.

The next part is to make a list of positive affirmations to create the landscape of where I want to go. By creating this future picture of myself I set up the conditions for me to live into the reality I have created.

The last aspect is preparation for my competition. I will take the rehearsal and visualization and apply it to the competition at hand. This preparation starts weeks and sometimes years before and ends when I cross the finish line and stand on the podium. I have developed a routine for competition and a mantra that I repeat to myself as I approach the starting line. This is when I apply my mental training to get the most out of my physical preparation. During the race I only have control of my execution, the physiology of my muscles is already set.

Next week I will discuss “Rest” as the last part of training.

Thanks for your continued support for this blog, my website, and my book!

500 Meters race start US Single Distance Championships January 2012, Milwaukee, Wi, Photo by Steve Penland

500 Meters race start US Single Distance Championships January 2012, Milwaukee, Wi, Photo by Steve Penland

Buy my Book! Available now on Amazon!


Buy My Book! Faster as a Master, Breaking Down Barriers, Journeying Toward Wholeness. Available now on Amazon in print and kindle versions.

Happy Birthday to my wife Maripat.  Seven years ago today we met when you fell in my lap on the United company bus and I flew you from Chicago to Hong Kong.  Faster as a Master is dedicated to you and sharing this fantastic journey. Chapter 5 is the story of how we met.

Follow this link to Amazon and order the print on demand version or download the digital version.  For my international friends I would reccomend Amazon so you can get the best options and deals on shipping.

Description:

Bruce Conner is faster as a speed skater now, at age 57, than he was as a teenager. The commonly held belief about getting slower as we age has been blown completely out of the water by Bruce, breaking down that barrier. Getting better and going faster is more about intentions and choices than age. “We all want to be great. As I get older, I want to be great again. Happy, loved, healthy–those are the qualities I aspire to be. To be whole in body, mind, and spirit is the reward. We are more capable of attaining those things than we give ourselves credit for.” –Bruce ConnerBruce is also a United B-747 captain, even though he was told when he got his first pair of glasses at age 16 that he would never fly airplanes for a living. Bruce competed as a youngster from age 12 till 19, competing as a long track ice speed skater at the local, state, national, and international levels. He was on the U.S. national team from 1974 through 1976, barely missing making the 1976 Olympic team.

Returning after 20 plus years away from the sport, he had some unfinished business. How fast could he go if he trained as hard as a youth but was smarter about it? Making it back to the Olympic trials again at age 49 was his goal. To be in the elite group of the top skaters in this country was the prize. Was it possible? He had to find out.Bruce has now qualified for four US Olympic trials, at age 19, 49, 53, and 57. Find out how Bruce was able to compete at the elite level and, in the process, journey toward wholeness and heal old wounds. Follow Bruce to break down your barriers to an unlimited life!

I will have copies available to personalize later this week and will announce how to buy them directly from me.  I will be helping Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr. at the Masters Long Track Clinic at the Pettit Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin later this week and will have copies for purchase (save shipping).

I will be announcing soon how to purchase on iTunes and Nook digital versions.

This has been an amazing four and a half year journey getting this book wriiten and published, thanks for your support!

Next week I will pick up the discussion about “Mental Training”.

Faster as a Master

Faster as a Master

 

 

Training Principles Part 6: Stretching


Training Principles Part 6: Stretching

Book update:  I am anticipating printing of the paperback and shipping to me arriving by 9/24.  Electronic versions may be available sooner.  I will update again soon.

Stretching, or you can call it mobility, has three uses for me, warm-up, cool down, and a separate yoga workout.

The first is during my warm-up process.  I have a repeatable routine so that I remember all of my stretches.  Creat one that works for you and modify it as you see fit.

I never stretch cold muscles, ligaments, or tendons. I bring my body up to a warm temperature by jogging, biking, or fast walking, then I stretch to get full range of motion of my joints. I like to think of my muscles as rubber bands. If I stretch a cold rubber band, it might break; a warm one is more flexible. When stretching for range of motion, I will hold a pose for about 10 seconds.

The second aspect of my stretching is after my cool down. The same routine but this time I will hold my poses for 30 seconds. The purpose of this kind of stretch is to increase flexibility, promote recovery, and prevent injury.

The third and last component is a workout designed just around stretching. Yoga is a great tool for me, so I try to do it weekly. Spending a whole hour stretching has benefits that go far beyond just flexibility, injury prevention, and range of motion. Yoga can help me open up the connection from my head to my heart, help me be mind-full and calm, and get re-charged and re-centered.  When I look forward to yoga and miss it when I can’t seem to fit it in , then I know its benefits are beyond the obvious.

I also have a daily appiontment with my “stick” roller.  By using my stick or some type of roller I can get to specific problem areas and work out soreness, promote circulation that helps recovery and increase flexibility immediately adjacent to joints.  There is some new proof that “rolling” is better than stretching for increased flexibility.  I am disciplined about doing all the above and it clearly works for me.

Next week is mental training.

Yoga pose

Yoga pose

Training Principles Part 5: Periodization


Training Principles Part 5: Periodization

As a side note my book “Faster as a Master” will be available electronically (Amazon Kindle, iTunes) in a few days.  The print version in a couple of weeks.  I will announce here and on my website when you can order the print version from me or when downloads will be available.  Thank you for your patience, this process is longer than I imagined.

Periodization is like a flight of stairs. The first level—which can be equated to any workload and any exercise—is the first step. Let’s take the example of sit-ups. I can start out by doing so many of a certain type. Let’s say that I am doing sit-ups twice a week. I keep track of the type of sit-ups and how many. The next week I increase the sit-ups. I can increase the sit-ups by a number of ways: I can increase the number I do by adding to a set or adding another set; I can decrease the rest time between sets; I can change the difficulty of sit-up to one that is inclined or one that incorporates weights. The important thing is to increase each week.

At a certain point we reach a plateau. Then it is important to change. I need rest and have to back off the intensity and volume for a couple of weeks. By just going through the motions for about a week, we are healing from the intense work. Then I can start to increase again. Now I can start up again just below where I took the break. By repeating this process of increasing, then easy, then increasing again, I become better and stronger overall in the long run and less prone to burnout and injury.

The concept of periodization also applies to the larger training cycle of a season and peak performance for a race. I train very hard so that I break down and rebuild stronger. This cycle can be used to achieve peak performance for a certain event. Approaching the important competition, I will cut down the volume of my work but maintain the intensity. By doing a lot more recovery and rest, I can approach the starting line rested and ready to push at maximum capacity. The length of the tapering of volume prior to the competition is usually in direct relation to the length of hard training leading up to the competition. I have found it is better to have too long a rest than not enough.

The concept of tapering training volume and intensity was foreign to me when I was young. That was why I burned out at age 19 and was unable to compete at the level I had trained and prepared for. I believed that the person who trained the hardest would win. I put everything I had into training all the way up to the competition with no rest. I was so tired that my technique suffered and my muscles were worn out, so I could not skate well at all. Now I know very well what the concept of tapering is and how to use it. Now I use the periodization process and tapering, and I plan my training to the utmost benefit.

Age is also a variable where tapering is concerned. My ability to recover is not as fast as that of younger skaters, so my taper must be a little longer. As I age, I have realized I can keep up with the younger skaters if I give myself a longer rest.

The whole idea of tapering for a major competition is that I should approach the starting line feeling totally rested and ready to go. In fact, compared to the training volume and intensity I maintained as a young man, I should feel like I am lazy and out of shape. That is when I race my fastest. A great deal of science supports all of this, and my own experience bears it out.

Steps to the goals

Steps to the goals