Training Like An Olympian! Getting Started…


Training like and Olympian. Here is what I did this week to get started.

During my skating career I have trained and raced with the best on the planet. My coach Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr. (she is a 5 time Olympian) and I have refined a plan for my training. Here is where the execution of the plan takes place. After the season was over last month I took time to rest, recover and reflect. My gut told me It was time to start again.

On a macro scale I am shooting to peak at the Olympic trials in the end of December. Monthly, I will do 3 weeks hard work followed by an easier week. This first week should be an easier week so I don’t get hurt or burn out.

My training started with this week with a weight workout followed by a 30 minute ride on a stationary bike. I will do this intense weight workout once a week. I subscribe to the philosophy in the book “Body by Science“, by Doug McGuff and John Little. This is my second year of this kind of strength training and It works for me.

Keeping tabs with my ithlete device (www.myithlete.com) so I do not over-training is essential. Being tired this week was normal. By monitoring my recovery I can guard against over-training.

Tuesday, an interval bike ride for an hour. Wednesday was a fun cardio tennis workout for 90 minutes. Thursday was an interval workout on the slideboard (wwwultraslide.com) . Using a slideboard is the closest thing to skating for me. Since we wont get long track ice till July or August, I need to imitate time in the skating position and work on my technique. After my slide work I did another stationary bike workout with increasing intensity for 60 minutes.

Friday brings a power yoga workout. I love to spend an hour moving and stretching like this. Saturday is another slide workout. The emphasis was for time in the skating position. Then to the pool for a 30 minute swim. Sunday is off. Low intensity yard work can be recovery work too. Turning a spring cleanup of my yard into productive work is always beneficial. A long walk with your dog or your sweetie, helps us all. A nightly appointment with my stick roller (www.thestick.com) also helps with recovery.

When I started training seriously a few years ago I was worried about recovering in time to do the volume of training necessary. By increasing gradually and doing all the little things, I have been able to achieve a very high level.

Follow me on my journey to the Olympic trials and my best season ever!

Break down your barriers and come with me!

Bruce Conner on the ultraslide!

Bruce Conner on the ultraslide!

Stress


Stress is a normal part of everyday life.  When people say that, I hate it.  Stress is either self-created, on purpose, or it is created outside of me, and I must choose a response to it.  The stress that I feel before a race is my creation.  I choose to race.  It can be frightening and rewarding just the same.  I have control over this stress.  It’s the stuff I have no control over that drives me nuts.

The stress I did not have a hand in creating is what I have trouble with.  My stress level is usually contingent on my mental state.  When I am doing well, balanced,at peace, and at ease, I can handle a great deal of stress.  If I am not doing well, just a little extra stress puts me over the edge.  Relief is what I need.  We all deal with stress in our lives.  If I give it power, stress will be in charge and rule me.  It is my choice.  My response is what I have control over.

Developing practice on how to handle stress is the key.  I won’t be very good at it until I have been successful at handling some easy situations first.  Then with some experience I can handle tougher situations.  How I deal with traffic is usually a pretty good barometer for me and how I am handling stress in my life.  If I have a short fuse and everyone seems to be driving poorly around me, then I must look at myself.  Am I being overly sensitive about my surroundings?  Am I feeling threatened at every turn?  Then I must look at how I am handling my stress.  What are the underlying problems in my life?  It is not the traffic that is the problem but how am I responding to the traffic.  I heard a story about a guy who typically drives a great deal in rush hour traffic.  When asked by a friend how he handles all the traffic his response was, “I only drive one car”  This reminds me that I only need to control my response to the stress.  Traffic is one way I can see how I am handling stress.  That is the mirror that I need to look at, to see what is really going on with me, honestly.

So now that I have been able to recognize the stress level, what do I do with it?  Usually my stress comes out in anger.  Sometimes I bury it and it affects me physically by making me sick (dis-ease).  By learning how to deal with my anger I can manage my stress.  Physical activity helps with my anger.  A long run, chopping down a tree, yoga, meditation, are some examples of physical things I can do to facilitate healing.  That is probably why I train so hard.   This is a productive and healthy way to deal with my stress.  I have also learned ( this was very hard for me) to defuse my anger slowly instead of going from zero to rage.  Using my networks of support and getting help for my mental and emotional state, is what works. By knowing I am not alone in my struggles helps as well.  After building confidence handling my stress, I can deal with anything that comes my way.

With a lower stress level I rest better, am healthier, recover faster, and am able to train harder.

Sometimes I just need to take the lead from my dog, let go, run, and be happy.

Lilly my smiling off ice training partner.

Lilly my smiling off ice training partner.

Integrity


The definition of integrity is adherence to moral and ethical principles, soundness of moral character, honesty.

Growing up as a boy scout, I learned many of the principles that guide me today.  I have strayed from my moral compass from time to time.  Hurting the people I love is one of the consequences.  Damaging myself is the worst.  Honesty with myself is the hardest but most rewarding part of this journey.

People judge me by my actions not my intentions.  Consistent action over time builds trust and integrity with the people around me.  Building core self-esteem is also consistent action over time.  There is cycle of action, followed by thought, followed by action again.  This can be an upward unlimited spiral or downward self-defeating one.  The choice is mine.  Here is where we have a choice, where we are held accountable for our actions, and we reap the consequences for our actions.

At the core, my self-esteem and self-image are at stake.  I am my worst critic.  By acting honestly, with integrity, over time, I can be at peace with who I am and reap the benefits.

Training is consistent action over time.  By doing the tasks for training, it helps me with my thought process, which in turn helps my self image and self-esteem.  Some results are tangible and can be seen, some results are internal and can only be felt.  By honestly putting in the work, I get the results inside and outside.

Masters World Sprints, Salt Lake City, March 2013

Masters World Sprints, Salt Lake City, March 2013

Coaching


Happy Easter Everyone !!!

Coaching myself does not work, for me. I need a mirror so that I can see myself and make changes. That is the way it works best for me. Having experimented with the idea that I can be my own expert has backfired more than once. The need to select someone that can help me along my path is essential. This relationship needs to be a good fit. Several coaches have helped along in my life. Trusting that each coach that comes at the right time for my learning process has helped. There needs to be a certain synchronicity in the relationship. Everyone puts out a certain vibration. I need to be sensitive to that so the relationship will grow, flourish, and be good for both me and my coach. Following my gut when I pick a coach is very important.

The first question I must ask myself as I go along this path is, “Am I coachable?” This may seem like a rudimentary question. I have been at opposite ends of the spectrum in different times of my life. As a youngster I went to a couple of summer camps to learn about skating and training. Having met some expert coaches then, I started to write to them for training programs. They were Norwegian and Dutch and we wrote letters that took weeks to deliver. Not having any money to spend on coaching was a problem too. Geographically not being close to any coaches, I learned as much as possible, and became my own expert. As a result, I developed some hard rules for my training. Unshakable in most of my ideas, I was not very coachable at the time. After crashing and burning from overtraining as a teenager, slowly over a couple decades, I realized I needed to change my thinking. Knowledge, expertise, and wisdom based on my life experiences were assets now. I might be an expert on many things, but I was still having some blockage about many ideas. Wanting to moving forward, I needed to have an attitude of acceptance and change. Accepting that I could not see myself as well as a coach could, was the ticket to progress. Open to new ideas, and the ability to spend some money on a coach opened the door.

Nancy Swider- Peltz, Sr. , my current coach, tells me that I am very coachable. Being willing to hear what she has to say, and try it to the best of my ability is my attitude. No longer having to justify what I am doing, I just try to do it differently. This attitude has taken a long time to sink in. It probably ties in with my self esteem. The better I feel about myself the easier change is possible. Nancy recognizes that and helps me with that process. That is what being coachable is all about.

Nancy and I have a relationship almost like family. I treat it with almost the same in terms of time and energy. In order for it to work well and flourish it must be given the priority it deserves. I am very grateful for what we have and how it works. It is a good fit, and we are very productive. What I bring to this relationship is good for both of us. I know and trust that.

Some of us do not have the resources for a coach. We may be held back due to finances, or geography, etc. My reccommendation is to attend as many summer camps and clinics as possible. Develop as many contacts as possible and foster those relationships. Being open to new ideas from all sources. Online capabilities are growing as well. Instant feedback may not be possible, but video, texting, email, etc, can all be tools to help your progress. We are only limited by our own imagination. Good Luck!

American Cup Salt lake, March, 2013, Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr.  giving race splits and encouragement!

American Cup Salt lake, March, 2013, Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr. giving race splits and encouragement!