Give the Gift of Motivation and Inspiration!


Give the Gift of Motivation and Inspiration!

What could be better than passing on your enthusiasm!

The best is yet to come!

click here http://www.brucewconner.com

cover

Faster as a Master Your best is yet to come!

 

 

 

 

Cardiovascular Training


Anytime I move, my heart starts raising its rate to keep up with my workload. Virtually, all of my training has a cardiovascular component to it. A couple of times a week, I do some pure cardio work to train my heart and lungs.

When I am on the ice, I can consider it a strength and cardio workout. Even skating slow laps requires a great deal of strength, and my heart rate increases to a high level before long. I do two types of specific cardio work, mostly on a stationary bike sometimes on the ice or slideboard.

One type of workout is interval training. The other is extensive tempo. The difference is that interval training is of a higher intensity but with rest between the efforts. The extensive tempo training is doing something at a lower intensity but continuously for a longer time frame.

An example of an interval workout would be running 400 meters pretty hard so that you are breathing heavily at the end, then resting by jogging 200 meters, then repeating. This was the workout we did when I was in high school as a freshman running cross-country, and we repeated this cycle about 12 times or more in a workout. It takes about an hour to do this part of the workout.

An extensive tempo workout would be running for the same hour or longer but at a slower pace continuously. Both types of workouts have benefits for your heart and lungs. If you are not in very good condition you must remember to increase your volume and intensity very slowly!  Otherwise, you will get injured and have to stop or scale back your training.  Even if you are in great shape, increase slowly!

To get the full benefits of cardio training, you should use both methods each week. Many times, my coach schedules an extensive tempo bike workout in the evening after an intense morning workout on the ice to help flush out the byproducts that built up earlier. This way I get the benefit of the flush as well as the cardio training for my heart. Swimming is also a great non-weight-bearing exercise that can help with heart and lung capacity. I can do tempo, intervals, or recovery work by swimming.

Here is a video of the end of an interval workout on my stationary bike that I sent to my coach Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr who was in Germany at the time.

Rest, Reevaluation, and Goal Setting


Rest, reevaluation, and Goal setting

For winter competitive athletes this is a time of peak training.  For those that compete mostly in the summer this is the time for rest, reflection and reevaluation of our future goals and direction.

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 and yearly 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.

By continually reevaluation our plans and adapting to changed circumstances, we can uncover new ways to enjoy the journey and achieve our 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.

Put your feet up, rest, reevaluate and set new goals.

IMG_0405

 

 

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?

Rest is a very important part of Training!


Rest is a very important part of training.

I have been resting and thus not writing here on my blog recently.

What I have been doing is active and passive physical and mental rest.  I transitioned back to the 747-400.  Maripat and I went to Boulder recently to see our sons and granddaughters.  I have been writing my book and sending it back to my editor and some others for the copy-edit.  That does not sound like rest but shifting gears.  I have not stopped moving but decreased my intensity in everything.

Rest is just what it means, 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, this year it was late December.  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 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 like the farmers do for their crops. During this time, I can do a number of things. One thing I like is to continue to do a little very easy biking and stretching.

I do nothing intense, everything is just for fun! When I was growing up, my parents stressed that I should learn my sport as best as possible, 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.

A tool, that I use in gauging 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 or back off on my training. ithlete is an application on my smart phone that uses a receiver, and my polar heart monitor. 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 easy 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 ithlete validates that feeling when I am on track or overtrained.

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 3 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 plan for 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, it would be counterproductive. I will do a cardio bike recovery workout, swimming, or yoga in between skating and weights.

Again, I will take the lead from my dog, kick back, lay down, rebalance, and rest.

Lilly Sleeping

Lilly Sleeping

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.

http://www.thestick.com

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

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!