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!