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.

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.

IMG_0002

Ice In August! Yes!!!


Ice In August!  Yes!!!

This is an Olympic year.  A special year.  Speed skating takes a main stage this year with the Olympic games in Sochi, Russia during February.  The Olympic trials also will be a main event for my sport.  There will be 13 hours of TV coverage between short track and long track events.  The long track trials start December 27th in Salt Lake City.  I will be racing the 500m on the 28th and the 1000m on the 29th.  The short track trials follow and are done on January 5th.

Since this an Olympic year we get ice early in Milwaukee.  In non Olympic years we get ice around the middle of September.  The US Olympic Committee helps the Pettit Center with the extra cost of opening early so we can train longer on the ice before the trials and the games.  This year we will have ice on August 15th.

Pumped about getting on the ice this year, training with my group of Olympians.   Getting to apply the off ice work to skating.  The weight workouts, the hard bike training, the slide-board, yoga, swimming, recovery, all working in harmony to apply to the ice skating that feeds my soul.

Loving every part of this process.  Refreshing cold. Smell of the ice.  Speed.  Wind in the ears.  Pressure into the ice while balancing on a 1.1 milimeter blade.  Back together with my skating family, coach, and training partners.  The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of speed skating are what feed me.  I get to utilize all my tools for skating.  Building a network for support, goals, nutrition, coaching, training, competing, balance,  mental support, and courage all are in play.  Juggling all the pieces and getting the most out of the effort.  Being rewarded on  the journey my making me better.  Happy in doing this work, joyous in my pursuit of excellence, free in being totally absorbed in the moment.  Total concentration on skating, single-minded effort, peace in the knowledge of what is right for me.  Doing this work that feeds me.

Skating this week!

Masters Us Single Dist Championships January 2012, photo by Steve Penland

Masters Us Single Dist Championships January 2012, photo by Steve Penland

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

12 Ways To Cross Train


Speed skaters are great cross trainers.  We only have long track ice for about 6 months of the year.  We train almost year round, so we have to be good at doing other things that can translate to the ice.  Unfortunately there is no true substitute for long track speed skating.  The only way to get better is to do the real thing.  We can build our motors off the ice, but developing the correct and most efficient technique can only be done on long track ice.

Here are some groups of things we can do at this time of the year to help us be a successful.

1. Weight training.   Weight training is essential.  This is my time for heavy weight training.  A hard on ice speed skating session is like a hard weight workout.  When we get on the ice in late summer and early fall I start phasing out my heaviest weight workouts.

2. Cardio training.  This can take many forms.  Running, cycling, swimming, cardio tennis, stairs, etc.

3.  Slide board.  We can do short track, but it not quite the same as long track.  We can do slide board to stay in the skating position and concentrate on technique.  We can do imitation skating (dryland).  We can do cross over turn strokes up the side of a hill.

4.  Inline skating.  I personally do not inline.  A lot of people do, and find it beneficial.

5.  Yoga.  Spending an hour or so each week doing yoga helps in so many ways.

6.  Competition.  In the past I have participated in other competitive events, running, triathlons, etc.

So here are my 12 ways I train without being on the ice.

What do you do to build your motor as well as help your technical expertise of skating?  I would love to hear from you!

P.S. I am heading to Denver this week for 777 Captain school.  I will have to be creative with my training.  Being in Denver and home for a couple of days each week will be a challenge.  I am looking forward to a new phase of my career at United.

Bruce Conner on the ultraslide!

Bruce Conner on the ultraslide slideboard!