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.

http://www.amazon.com/Faster-Master-Breaking-Journeying-Wholeness-ebook/dp/B00NMWLDRM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1411310247&sr=8-2&keywords=faster+as+a+master

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