3 Essentials training tools

Here are three essential tools that I use, belive in, and that have helped me to achieve extraordinary results.

1. ithlete HRV monitor.

An essential part of my training is measuring my recovery between hard efforts.

I have a tendency to overtrain, I know a lot of highly motivated people who do. Being sore is part of the landscape, being tired is also part of my training life. Deep down fatigue is not. When I lose the pop, when I lose my gratitude for the ability to do what I love, that is the difference. My most effective training includes a lot of recovery work.

I have used various methods to calculate recovery, including historic training knowledge from myself and my coaches, and morning heart rate. The ithlete helps me achieve my goals through validating my rest and recovery.

I heard about ithlete from a fellow speed skater, looked it up, and decided that this was something that could help me decide when to go hard or back off on my training. I’ve been using it for about 18 months now. After some illness and stress, my HRV numbers have been pretty low. It reflects all of my life factors including a very high training load.

I work very intensely. After a low ithlete HRV score I will vary my workouts or do an active recovery day. ithlete tells me that my body needs to slow down. Active recovery is much easier with this knowledge. In the past, I would train right through these times suffering as a result.

My coach and I plan to taper my training to race fast. By using the ithlete HRV I can be at an optimum level.

Speed skating is a highly technical sport. I can build the motor, but I need skate well to be efficient and go fast. One of the ways to gauge my readiness to race is my ability to get into a low skating position. If my position is high, I am tired. When rested, I skate better and faster, there is a direct relationship.

Click on the link for http://www.myithlete.com to find out more!

2. The stick

I have an appointment nightly with my “Stick”. Using the stick helps my muscles recover from the rigors of intense training. Rolling my legs increases circulation to my muscles for about 15 minutes every night before bed helps to facilitate recovery. Waking with a refreshed feeling, knowing that I am giving my body the tools it needs they need to speed recovery. Yoda would say “Many years, have I used the stick”. For a link to Stick Products click here.


3. Slideboard

Skating cannot be duplicated exactly off the ice. We only have long track ice for about 6 months of the year. Training off ice with some duplication of the on ice experience is preferred. The Ultraslide slideboard is my favorite device for the technical aspect it brings to my off ice training. Making my own slideboard over 40 years ago as a teenager, still on one, still works. For a link to their site click here. http://www.ultraslide.com.

Bruce Conner on the ultraslide!

Bruce Conner on the ultraslide!

The Stick roller

The Stick roller

ithlete HRV App and ecg reciever

ithlete HRV App and ecg receiver

Olympic Trials here I come !

US Speed Skating has published the rules for the upcoming Olympic Trials.  My goal last season was to qualify for the trials.  Each year the rules must change to reflect the current dates and places for each competition.  Additionally, the rules for Olympic trials and team selection must be published every 4 years (see the link below for the document).  The Long Track Trials will be held  December 27th, 2013 through January 1st, 2014, in Salt Lake City.  The Short Track Trials will be January 2nd through 4th 2014, also in Salt Lake.  NBC sports will be airing 17 hours of coverage (some of it will be live) of the long and short track trials.  This will be a great build up to the Olympic games in Sochi during February, 2014

Last season I set out to qualify for 3 distances, 500, 1000, and 1500.  I made the time for the 500 (39.00) in January, in Milwaukee.  I skated faster 2 more times in Salt Lake (38.94 and 38.75).  I needed a 1:16.08 in the 1000.  I skated a 1:16.15, missing the time by .07 or about 1 meter.  The rules allow me to skate both the 500 and the 1000 since I achieved the time in the 500.  I skated my second fastest 1500 ever at 2:01.40 in March but fell short of the required time of 1:57.96.  In retrospect, that goal was not realistic.  The overall goal of making it to the trials was realistic and I achieved it!

Having the rules published is the final validation of my goals.  Now I am set to go and compete.  My goal is to improve on my performance from the last trials 4 years ago.  I know this will be my last Olympic trials.  This is my choice.  At the last trials I was 53 and the oldest ever to qualify for this event.  I have just added 4 years to my record.  I am faster now by far as a master than I was as a teenager on the national team.  I do the work and get the results.  I have enjoyed the journey along the way too, appreciating all the work and benefits that come my way.

I have only 3 days left of simulator training in Denver this week to finish my B-777 type rating school.  This is my 29th year at United Airlines.  This will be my fifth type rating, all in Boeing aircraft.  I started out at a B-727 engineer, yes they had those in the day.  I am proud to be a Captain at United Airlines.  Looks like I will be going to Shanghai next weekend and then to Europe a few days later to finish my line training with a friend of mine that is an instructor Captain.   In July I will start flying out of Washington Dulles to Frankfurt.  Onward to my new assignment.
“Let age enhance your dreams rather than define them.”  Bruce Conner 2008
“Getting better and going faster is more about intentions and choices than age”

Bruce Conner  2012

Photo by Steve Penland

Photo by Steve Penland

Link for USS Document


9 Tools To Breaking Down Barriers

9 Tools For Breaking Down Barriers

Breaking down barriers is essential to make progress, to grow, and live and thrive. Using these tools will give you the best chance for successful outcomes and a rewarding journey through life.

1. Building a network of support.

All successful people have support. Everyone needs help. Feeling self-reliant at times is important. The most successful people I know have support.

2. Goals

A necessary part of making progress is setting goals. Make your goals specific, realistic, and have a time frame. Changing your goals is ok, make the commitment by setting a goal and start your journey.

3. Nutrition

If you want to go fast you must put jet fuel in your tank. Give yourself the best chance by using the best raw materials for your mind and body.

4. Coaching

What ever your goals are, there is probably someone who has already done it. Get expert help. This will save a great deal of energy, time, and frustration.

5. Training

Practice what you do, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Build gradually your volume, and intensity. Have fun with it!

6. Competing

Competition brings out the real you. This can be scary at first. The most important competitor I face is myself. Embracing competition is extremely rewarding on many levels.

7. Balance

Learning to prioritize the different parts of my life helps to achieve and maintain balance. Good decision-making is the foundation of balance.

8. Mental support

My eyes only see out. Having another set of eyes and perspective can help me adjust my thinking. Sharing thoughts with someone I trust, I find out that my thinking is not so different. Everything starts with a thought, proper support is essential.

9. Courage

Are we worth it? Change is hard. We begin with the first step. If we keep climbing, look up every now and then, the view just gets better. Gratitude for the work can be its own reward. Doing hard things will reap untold benefits. Courage is doing all the little things and making progress. Before you know it you have broken down your own barriers.

On a personal note I am almost done with B-777 school in Denver. I will be flying between Chicago, Washington D.C. and Frankfurt Germany in July. Skating training is going well with solid progress in all areas. Looking forward to the Olympic trials in December in Salt Lake. Breaking down more barriers!