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
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!