General Training Principles: Part 2 of 2


General Training Principles Part 2 of 2.

To recap my training regimen has eight parts.

Practicing the sport
Warm-up, cool-down, volume, and intensity
Strength work
Cardiovascular work
Periodization
Stretching
Mental training
Rest

Today I will talk about the first part, practicing my sport—in this case, speed skating. Many of you can do your sport daily, like running or cycling.  I can skate on the ice (when available), rollerblade, do imitation skating on dry land, or use a slide-board.

Recently I learned about a high school cross country progarm that was consistently winning over many decades.  They did not run everyday.  They ran hard about 3 days a week and in-between, they would do recovery work on a bike and swimming.  So even when pratcticing your sport like running everyday is not necessary or even desirable.

By applying the general principles of athletic training to anything that requires commitment, dedication, perseverance, and discipline, you can achieve extraordinary results.

Practicing my sport When I started skating as a youngster, what attracted me was the sport itself and the joy of doing it. We must all remember our roots and our early motivation to get us through the hard work of training.

When I skate and race, I put everything together: strength, endurance, technique, cardio work, mental training, everything. This is my toughest test, as well as my best barometer of progress. Here is where the skate meets the ice.

There is nothing natural about speed skating. It is a purely learned activity that requires a fair amount of strength. Because of the strength required, skaters do not have the luxury of a lot of repetition. In order to skate technically well, a skater cannot be too tired. When I get tired, my technique suffers and thereby my speed. In the United States, we have long track ice at two indoor 400-meter ovals about six months of the year from September through March. If the rink is outdoor the season is even shorter. In Olympic years, we might have ice indoors a month or so longer. It is important to skate, but it is also important to do off-ice imitation skating in the form of inline skating, dry-land training, and slide-board. I am constantly refining my technique to get the maximum speed.

When I skate, I have several types of workouts. One workout is endurance skating: many laps at low intensity concentrating on technique and efficiency. Another workout is at race pace for short distances, typically 400 to 600 meters. We have several types of interval workouts as well, which intersperse hard skating with periodic rests. Then we have sprint workouts where we go all out hard for very short distances, interspersed with long rests. The goal is to refine our technique on the ice, since there is no true substitute, while simulating the different parts of racing. My coach is usually on hand for these sessions to direct and modify training as I go, as well as help to refine technique.

In whatever sport you are engaged in, you must learn to apply some amount of technique. Even something as seemingly simple as cycling can benefit because you can learn more efficient ways of pedaling. In speed skating, technique is extremely important. The faster I want to go, the better I must skate technically. This means striving for great body positioning and the most efficient way to push into the ice. If I have poor technique, I will skate slowly. When I improve my ability to apply my motor to the ice, I go faster and longer with the same effort.

By getting some coaching or going to a clinic for your sport will enhance your experience.

The benefits are worth it, you are worth it!

Your best is yet to come!

General Training Principles: Part 1of 2


General Training Priciples: Part 1

Good luck to all my Masters Speed Skating brothers and sisters competing in Calgary this weekend at the Masters World All-Around Championships.  All of you will have fun, enjoy the competition and family of masters, as well as set seasons best, personal bests and World Records!

One of my early memories of growing up is doing crazy things. Little did I know that this kind of play was the beginning of my training. Bart (one of my two younger brothers) and I were probably about 6 and 8 years old at the time. We had skateboards, the kind that were about 2 feet long with metal roller skating wheels bolted to the bottom. Our driveway from the house to the sidewalk was sloped slightly, so we could get a little speed rolling downhill, maybe a fast walking speed. After mastering the skateboard on the driveway, we tried some other stuff. Bart liked hanging upside down on the monkey bars across the street in the park. When we started to go down the driveway on the skateboard in a handstand, it seemed like a logical progression from our other activities. This helped both of us to develop strength and balance early. Certainly, it helped Bart in his gymnastics career, and it also helped me in my balance for skating.

Making time to put in the work can be hard. I was asked the other day about how I find the time to train at this level. My answer was that I don’t find the time, I make the time. This goes back to setting goals and priorities. Following through with a training plan is easier when I make the time. It has taken years to put myself into a job that allows blocks of time off to pursue my other passions. By carefully looking at our schedules, we can figure out ways to make time to pursue our goals and keep our priorities straight. We all have unexpected things come up in our lives that require us to put us off our training schedules. Adaptation with balance is the key to making progress.

Athletic training, in general, has two major parts: building the motor (strength, endurance, cardio), and then developing the technique to apply it. My knowledge and expertise has been developed by trial and error and by talking to other athletes on similar paths. The lessons I’ve learned in training may be actively applied to other parts of life. My training regimen has eight parts.

Practicing the sport
Warm-up, cool-down, volume, and intensity
Strength work
Cardiovascular work
Periodization
Stretching
Mental training
Rest

Next week I will expand on general training principles.

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Training Cycles, Macro to Micro


Training has its cycles, macro to micro.  The macro cycle starts with the 4 year Olympic cycle. The micro is the cycle within a workout.

We all need to make decisions about how and when to train.  When to go hard, and when to taper off for competition. When to go hard in a workout, when to rest and recover.  Here are some proven guidelines to making those decisions yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and sometimes moment to moment managing our bodies and minds to be our best ever!

There is a reason that the Olympics are every 4 years.  I have been through 2 complete cycles recently now and can attest to the natural flow that it takes.  After an Olympic year we all need a break from the  intense training.  There is a natural need for a less intense season.  Then the build up can continue again towards the next Olympic year.  We all need a break physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.

The speed skating competition season starts in September and ends in March.  After the season is over,  a few weeks off or just recovery work, then off ice training again in preparation for skating in the fall.   Time off consists of recovery work and fun stuff.  I do a lot of low intensity bike work, tennis, golf, swimming, etc.

When training again, increasing gradually, hard for 3 weeks and easy for 1 week. The easy week is very important for the body to have some recovery.  Without a break we are subject to over training and susceptible to injury and illness.

During the competition season I need to be able to peak at the right time.  This requires an easy week or two prior to the competition.  The longer the hard training period the longer the taper prior to the competition.  The taper is done by keeping the intensity but reducing the volume.

In a weekly cycle I train hard all week and take Sundays off.  Sometimes hard training for two days and take an easy recovery day between.  I still need to get in a certain amount of cardio training, strength, and skating in every week.

Even within a single workout there are cycles.  After the warmup and into the meat of a workout I cycle between intense work then rest and recovery.  Intervals followed by a set rest or A very hard effort followed by complete rest.  There a number of different kinds of workouts with this in mind depending on what the objective is that I am trying to obtain.  At the end of the workout I finish the cycle by cooling down and stretching.

So what to do with this information?  Set up a training plan for the 4 year cycle, yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily. Revise it accordingly to fit your needs, desires, competitions and reactions to training feedback and recovery.

Remember, work, recovery, rest, repeat.

My ithlete HRV tool helps with determining how hard to train. It helps me to measure my readiness to train hard or take an easy day.

The Native American indians have a philosophy about circles.  Respect the circles and the cycles of life, it will pay great dividends in all areas of your life.

Masters US Single Distance Championships January 2012, photo by Steve Penland

How to start your best season ever!


Book signing Road Runner Sports, Wilmette, IL Saturday 1/31/2015 11am to 1pm.

How to start your best season ever!

This is a guide to getting started to have your best training and competition season ever.

First, did you rest, reflect, and recover from last season?  Are you ready to get started for the long haul?

Next, here are the steps required.

Set your intention.  Make your choices.

Outline an overall plan.  Your goals must be specific, measurable, and have a time frame.  Look at the entire season, then work backward to your training and preparations.  Start with the framework, then get specific.  Plan by the month, week, day, then each task in the workout.  Be flexible with the plan, it will change.

Get your network together for support.  Enlist the people around you that you need for help.  Tell them your plans.

Get your equipment together.  This includes what you need to compete, and train.  Remember to include good nutrition.

Enlist a coach or schedule some camps and clinics to learn more about your sport and competing.  Study training methods of other successful athletes that you know.  Do what works.  Do not reinvent the wheel.

Sign up for the competitions as soon as possible, book air travel, hotel rooms, rental cars, etc, now.  Make the committment.

Train as if you are competing.

Stay balanced in your efforts.  Start slow and build.  Keep your priorities straight.

Remember to attend to your emotional needs, they are just as important as the physical.  Schedule, yoga, meditation, etc, to keep balanced on the emotional side.  Rehearse your competition mentally so you are prepared to execute to the best of your ability.  See yourself accomplishing your achievements. Have visible reminders of the goals you have set.

Exercise courage in starting your plan.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Start walking…

Set your intention.  Make your choices.  Execute your plan.  You will get the results you work for.

Good luck on your journey, have the best season ever!

I have posted about each one of these subjects in detail in the last several months.  Check out my archives of past posts.

Photo by Jerry Search

Photo by Jerry Search

Balance and Priorities


Book signing in Kildeer went very well yesterday with about 30 people attending.  Next event is Saturday 1/24/2015  11am to 1pm at the Road Runner Sports in Naperville, IL

Balance is a fine art.  In speed skating, a 1.1 milimeter blade is the point of contact with the ice. To master balance is the first priority.  Proper skating position, adding power, then repeat with tempo, generating speed.  Managing energy from the fast twitch muscle fibers for the start, acceleration, and high-speed turns, to the slow twitch fibers to keep me in the lowest position for maximum power and efficiency.

These principles are universal to any endeavor physical, mental, etc.

Falls happen to the best of us every now and then.  By pushing limits, chances are greater of a fall but the rewards are higher too.

Falling is part of life, so is pain.  Off balance, out of focus, inefficient, unproductive, exposed to injury and disease.  Balance is just the opposite, focused, productive, efficient, healthy, happy, content and serene.  More sensitive to being off-balance today, I can make necessary more easily now.

learning process like anything else, the benefits are applicable to all areas of my life.  Since they affect all areas of my life then I must give balance the priority that it deserves, top.  Most of us spend about 90% of our time looking over the edge, focusing on the problems to balance. By finding out what works, keep doing it, refining it little by little is the best formula for success.

Priorities are the foundation of good decision-making.  Keeping my priorities straight, with good judgements about where I am, my goals, and how to get there.  If I am confused about my decisions by revisiting my priorities, the decisions become clearer.  Priorities in the order of God first, family second, work third and recreation fourth.

Ever know a few people who are very busy but always seem to have time for the most important things?  This is an example of having priorities straight.  Anything that is urgent, is rarely important, and anything that is important is rarely urgent.  Timing of my actions is just as important as the action itself.

Clear goals, balance, priorities, all help to establish the landscape.  Confident, focused, productive, efficient, happy, healthy, serene, trusting the path.

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Goals Part 2 of 2: Three Essential Elements


Upcoming book signing appearance:

Where?

Road Runner Sports

20291 N Rand Rd, #105

Kildeer, IL 60047 847-719-8949

When?

Saturday 1/1/7/2015   11am-1pm

Please come by and share your stories!

Goals must have three essential elements.  Specific, measurable, and have a time frame.  Short range is a few months.  Medium range, a year or two, and long-range is 5 years or more.  The longer the time frame the greater the chance of change.  Breaking down the short range into even shorter time frames such as weekly, daily, or even, moment by moment can be done too.  Set goals through an event.  Have another goal beyond that event to transition too right away.  Savor the achievement, celebrate the event, have a continuous path forward.  This prevents any down time emotionally after the achievement.  It is important to rest.  Evaluate after the achievement so that course corrections can be made.  After the goal is achieved perspective changes in ways we cannot predict.  This is the time to set a new path with a new perspective.

Sticking to a goal regardless of the circumstances is dangerous.  When the ego takes over, we are now slaves to the goal.  Who is driving, me or the goal?

After the achievement of the goal, it is very important to recognize the milestone.  This can be done in a number of ways.  Many families have rituals about celebrating goal achievements.  Going out to dinner, having a party, etc.  Remembering very vividly after qualifying for the Olympic trials in December of 2005 at age 49, what I did.  Made some phone calls to share the achievement,  then looked myself in the mirror and proclaimed to myself  “I am good enough!”  That was a very important moment for me and I frequently remember it.  It is now part of a solid foundation of my own self esteem.

Another facet about goals is that they do not have to be linear.  Change based on the individual changing, the environment, or circumstances, are a sign of maturity and the ability to change with new conditions.  Goals evolve as we change.

Right now is a great time to review your short, medium, and long-range goals.  Taking an overview monthly helps to adjust and affirm.  Peace, serenity, progress, and change are the result when using the indispensable tool of goals.  Use it wisely and the benefits are greater than you can imagine.  Breaking down barriers, one at a time.  Courage is measured one step at a time.

Getting better and going faster is more about intention and choices than age.

Go For It!!!  You can do it!!!  Start NOW!!!

First step off the line……….

photo by Jerry Search

photo by Jerry Search

Goals: Part 1 of 2


Goals: Part 1 of 2

Upcoming book signing appearance:

Road Runner Sports

Kildeer, Il 1/17/2015  11am

At the beginning of every year and the beginning of each season, I set goals.

The importance of goal setting cannot be underestimated. Impossible dreams are accomplished when focusing on goals you can control. Many of our goals are unspoken, they are motivations just under the surface. It is important to get those goals out in the open. There is some risk with that. By telling someone about my goals, even admitting it to myself, then I am responsible and accountable for them. This can be daunting and scary. The goal can be a stretch, the risk is outside of my comfort zone, exposure is tough. By starting towards my goal, if it seems to be unrealistic, then changing my goal is necessary. It is ok to change goals and directions. Sometimes life demands it. When change is needed that I resisted, there was a lesson for me. Life threw me a curve, adapt or suffer the consequences.

Having no target or direction, I will surely hit something, exactly what I do not want. By having a goal, a direction or a target, adjustments are easy. Enjoying the forward motion of my journey as well the direction, hitting my goal because of focus. If the original goal was not where I wanted to go, at least I have made progress in determining my eventual outcome and am farther down the road. It is also important to look at the expectations of my goals and to realize they are my goals, no one but mine. They are my creation. If they become a burden then I must look deeper to the motivation behind the goals. The goal may really belong to someone else. Focusing on goals that leave me feeling recharged rather than drained.

There are a number of steps to take to set up my goals. First I must know what drives me. What I am passionate about? What are my priorities and how I can fulfill them? Joy and passion will keep me coming back to completion of a goal or a positive change for a lifetime.

I have a passion for skating, and skating well. It requires a great deal of work and I am willing to do it. A passion for flying, doing it well, it shows there too. Keeping focused on passion and joy, see where it takes me. With these principles in mind, I can set short, medium and long-term goals.

My goals must be admitted by me first. Then I must announce them out loud. Then they must be shared with others that are important to my success. This can be difficult, but in order to move forward there must not be seen and unseen roadblocks to progress. There are many conscious and unconscious barriers to progress. By recognizing them as they come up, ignoring them, going around, or over them.

Goals must be realistic, measurable, have definite time frames, reviewed from time to time, and adjusted as necessary. Goals are classified as short, medium, and long-range. If one of my goals is to build self-esteem through setting and achieving goals, then I must do esteem-able things. The direction and end are important, but ultimately it is the journey that is the most valuable.

Next weeks post will be a conclusion to my discussion about goals. Stay tuned…..

Steps to the goals

Steps to the goals

Steps to the goals