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

Yoga for Training and Recovery.


Yoga for Training and Recovery.

Since the Olympic trials in late December I have not been training intensely.  I train when I feel like it and do what I feel like doing.  I let my intuition guide me.  My focus has shifted dramatically.  After pushing hard for 9 consecutive seasons I have switched gears.

I have been working on my book a great deal and I am getting very close to publishing.  The last editing is being done now.  I will make an announcement soon as to the availability in print and electronically.

After the Olympic trials in late December I gradually decreased my volume and intensity of training.  If I stop suddenly my body revolts and I end up getting sick or injured.  I build up slowly and decrease slowly.

I have been conentrating on other things that are important in my life, consistent with my priorities.  Family, publishing my book, changing back to the 747 and consistent flights to Shanghai and Tokyo, and yard work is the current mix.

Biking, weights, easy jogging on a treadmill, yoga and yardwork are what I have been doing for physical stimulation.  Picking up a guitar and exploring music is possible when I do not train full time as well.

I have been drawn to yoga this spring for many reasons and the many benefits it offers.  Strength, flexibility, mindfulness, relaxation, etc.

Yoga for recovery and training is just what I need right now and when I feel the need I listen.

I hope you all have a great summer of training!

Yoga pose

Yoga pose

 

24 Lessons From: Faster As A Master, Part One


24 Lessons From: Faster As A Master, Part One

In my upcoming book “Faster As A Master” each chapter has a summarization of what I learned in the form of “Lessons:”

Here are the first twelve. Next week I will publish the next twelve.

Each chapter has one or more stories, philosophies, and principles to illustrate my points. The statement of “Lessons:” is a summarization of what I have learned and apply to my journey of breaking down barriers and journeying toward wholeness.

1.  Keep moving, be mindful, and you will put yourself into positions that will be right for you.

2.  Core self esteem is built from within and is not based on performance but the effect of the     results on how we feel about ourselves.

3.  By taking small steps everyday we exercise courage to heal old wounds from within to become whole.

4.  We are not alone and have the benefit of many resources seen and unseen to help us past our barriers, internal and external.

5.  Ask for what you need to the universe, keep moving, and trust whatever comes your way is in your best interest.

6.  By breaking down barriers you can show yourself and the world that we are all more capable that we give ourselves credit.

7.  Keep moving in the direction of your goals, adjust as necessary to meet the present circumstances, accept what you cannot control, and trust you are on the right path.

8.  Define blocks to progress, figure out a way around them, set your goals, act, trust the path ahead.

9.  Getting better and going faster is more about intention and choices than age.

10.  Parental and Grandparent support comes in many forms and can be used throughout our lives.

11.  Our networks are wider than we know and can work in better ways than we can predict.

12.  Spousal support is extremely helpful and other support can come from almost anywhere I have spread good will.

Photo by Jerry Search

Photo by Jerry Search

Chinese Symbol for Courage

The Chinese Symbol for Courage

My Skating Family


My Skating Family.

Back on the ice.  First time on blades since last March.

There is a cycle each year of training and racing, ending with the last race in March.  Beginning this season with time off and recovery, then easy training progressing to harder work with volume and intensity.

This is the stage when we skate again.  Based on my work schedule, skating 3 times per week is the optimum.  Weight training, stationary bike work for cardio and recovery, and yoga will fill in between the skating and work.

All athletes have support networks.  Part of my support network is my skating family.  We are a tribe of like-minded, dedicated people.  Since I train by myself most of the time, it is great to reconnect with my group.  This is the time we get to  catch up.  Having face time with my coach is great.  Connecting with Jeffrey, Brian and Nancy, Jr. and finding out how their summer has gone.  Facebook updates are great but looking into someones eyes is indispensable.

A great characteristic of my group is shared support.  We all have something to offer to the group and to help each other achieve our goals.  Support comes in many different forms, everybody brings something unique.  My wife Maripat provides the basic platform of support (essential) to me and our group, while taking photos, video, and adding encouragement, adjacent to the ice.

I am at home among my training group and coach.  Motivated to get better, faster, smoother, more efficient, always making progress.

Wobbly at first on my blades.  I relearn pretty quickly how to get that fine balance for skating.  Foreign and familiar at the same time, describe the first couple of times on the ice.  In the beginning it is only technical work.  Going fast and hard comes later.  Patience with the process and the stroke yields results.

Any day I can skate is a great day!

Any day I can be with my skating family is also a great day!

My Skating Family. L to R, Jeffrey Swider-Peltz, Nancy Swider- Peltz, Jr, Brian Hansen, Maripat Conner (wife), Bruce Conner, Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr (Coach)

My Skating Family.
L to R, Jeffrey Swider-Peltz, Nancy Swider- Peltz, Jr, Brian Hansen, Maripat Conner (wife), Bruce Conner, Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr (Coach)

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

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!

Full Speed Ahead!


Full speed ahead!

This is the start of the third week of training for this season.  This week had some challenges with scheduling.  Being able to adjust is very important while still getting the work done.  A couple of weeks ago I took my dog for a run of about 3 miles.  I don’t run very often so It took some time for me to get used to it.  Then a few days later I did a 90 minute cardio tennis workout.  It is fun to hit a lot of balls and this workout helps keep my heart rate up for an extended time.  All of this pounding took a toll on my left knee.  No running or tennis for a while.  Weights, slideboard, swimming, yoga, biking, all good.  Icing at night does the trick and one week after, my shift I am as good as ever.

Ready for another hard week and building intensity.  Staying on track.  I am also looking to fine tune my goals for the season.   They must be specific, measurable, have a time frame, and be realistic.  Focus this year is on the Olympic trials starting on the 27th of December in Salt Lake City.  My goal is to be better than my previous trials in 1975, 2005, and 2009.  The 500,  38.95.  The 1000, 1:16.00.  Based on my most recent races these times are very realistic.

Having specific goals helps me to set and stick to my priorities.  This is an Olympic year.  There are a lot of very motivated athletes that are training very hard for their lifelong dreams.  Being a part of the Olympic movement has a special importance for me.  I get a great boost from the younger skaters.  Most of training now is solo but later in the summer I will be with my group.  Then when we return to the ice this fall we will all be together as a family.

Full speed ahead……

This video is from Masters World Sprints in Salt Lake City 3/16/2013.  This short video clip is from the second turn of the 1000.  This is the fastest we go on skates, about 35 mph or 56 kph.  I love to CRANK this turn!  Enjoy, more to follow….