Category Archives: Dry Skate

Changing Cycles…

Seeing as it has been a quarter since my last post, and seeing as we are walking into the start of the outdoor inline season, I thought it was time to post here again.  Really, life has been kind of hectic.  We went to Hawaii over Christmas in 2014, meaning I got to skate outdoor in 70+ F weather on Christmas.  That was pretty cool.  After that, I spent a lot of time being busy around the house, taking care of our toddler, and eventually helping to take care of a newborn.  With two kids and a lot of personal and family changes on the horizon, this outdoor season looks to be a bit of a transition year.  Regardless, I am already skating outside, which means it is time to get fitness focused on my races this year.

First, I currently plan on attending the Chicagoland Inline Marathon and the NorthShore Inline Marathon this year.  If the stars align, I might be able to make it to the Minnesota Half, but right now I do not expect that to be a possibility.  With a truncated race schedule, this presents the opportunity to have a more focused early season build phase for training.  As such, as I am considering how best to organize my training for this season, I am taking this opportunity into consideration.

Before digging into the details of the training plan for this season, though, I want to review the off-season.  I had a couple of specific goals beyond what was mentioned in a previous post.  Specifically, my goal was to add 15 pounds to my heavy lifts before the start of this inline season.  My goal was to rear squat 200 lbs. and dead lift 250 lbs.  I hit those marks at the end of March, pretty much right on schedule.  Beyond these goals, though, I spent a lot of time on the slide board, but not enough time on the bike.  As a result, my lack of cardiovascular fitness reared its head while I visited Team Rainbo last weekend for the last team indoor training session of the year.  Even skating on wheels that have seen a lot of miles outdoor, I was able to push the pace, but didn’t stay with the pace line because I didn’t feel like I had enough grip to not be a danger to everyone else in the line when pushing deep in the corners.  What stood out, though, was the diametrically opposed burning chest and spry legs.  Lifting heavy has been good this off-season, but I didn’t get enough cardio.  Slide board and jumping on boxes alone isn’t enough.  I wasn’t consistent enough about spending any kind of time on the bike this winter, and that is something I absolutely must fix for next year.  This notwithstanding, my early season skates have been slightly faster on average than at the start of last year, but I haven’t been quite as efficient, meaning my heart rate is a little higher than my similar work outs this time last year.  I feel stronger, though, and that helps the mental game.

As we transition into the season, though, it is time to change training cycles. This transition will implement some of the things I learned after last year, like maintenance weight lifting needs to be in the schedule during the season.  Going back to weight training during the off season in 2014, proved to be more challenging than it should have been, requiring a 35 pound deload before building up to a 15 lbs. personal best on all my lifts in March.  I lost too much in that time period, and I hope to preserve these new personal bests through the season so that is my starting base weight in the fall.  While there is one day of weight training built into the schedule, I expect to also use it as an occasional rest day, since you maintain strength gains longer than cardiovascular fitness gains.  I have a lot of rebuilding to do with cardiovascular fitness, but that will eventually come back, too.  The season of technique last year also proved helpful, so I am planning on dedicating a day for the first month of the season to work on technique, using cone and double push drills from the Mantia Clinic last year.  So, this is what the outdoor training schedule will look like this year:

  • Mondays:  Maintenance weights
  • Tuesdays: an easy recovery skate
  • Wednesdays:  Cone Drills and intervals
  • Thursdays:  longer intervals and/or hill skates
  • Friday:  a recovery skate
  • Saturday:  Long Tempo Skate, and
  • Sundays:  Long Trail skate in the afternoon

Hopefully, this will maintain my strength baseline and build my cardio back to where it was toward the end of last year.  This plan will change a little bit once we get to June, as I will likely cycle out the technique day for more intervals, hills, or duration skating sessions.  Regardless, with only two races in the relatively distant future, patience will be necessary.

 


Off-Season 2014-2015, Get At It!

The NorthShore has passed, my chest cold thing is finally gone, I have skated maybe three times, the race wheels have been put away until next year, and now we have nothing to look forward to but the long, cold, dead Minnesota winter.  There is a reason, besides keeping warm, Russians drink heavy.  If I lived in Siberia and had to look at that much snow, cold, and ice as that climate is known for, I would be driven to excessive consumption of alcohol also.  But, all of this time stuck indoors with not a lot to do means plenty of time to lift heavy stuff, binge watch bad TV while spinning on the bike, and think about whether I have enough clothes to keep warm while trying to ice skate.  That is pretty much what my off-season will look like.  Until the cold really sets in, I plan to try to skate on the weekends.  The sun sets too early to permit skating during the week right now.  As a result, training for next season starts right now, because your off-season is what makes or breaks your race season.  So, here is the plan:

After considering what I did for off-season last year, it wasn’t sufficiently structured, and my goals for working out during the week were based on an otherwise hectic life schedule.  This year promises to permit a lot more focus in my work out schedule.  Through the end of the year, I am going to continue to skate as much as possible, but realistically this will only last a couple more weeks until I convert my on-skates time to ice or indoor rink sessions/practices.  Since this will occur mostly on the weekend, that leaves me with 4-5 week days to fill with some training. Weight lifting provided some big gains for me over the last two years.  This was accelerated after I switched to an Olympic weight lifting set and built squat stands.  My goal is to get 3 days of lifting during the week from now until the middle of January, lifting heavy and adding weight weekly to every lift.  Every 4 weeks, I am going to deload, and give myself a rest to avoid overtraining.  I ended the off-season lifting 235 for my Dead Lifts and Romanian Dead Lifts and lifting 185 on my squats.  This year, I am going back to some older lifts and adding some new ones.  I am also changing up the way I am lifting.  Pat of the goal this year is to build power in addition to base strength.  One way of doing this is adding tempo to your lifts, or basically performing the lifts faster.  I am going to deload a bit at the start, and increase the pace of my lifts with the goal of adding power training to my base strength training, and, just maybe, spend a little less time lifting.  I am hoping to do the following three day schedule each week:

Day 1:

A1 Rear Squats
A2 Poliquin Step Ups
A3 Splits Squats

B1 Dead Lifts
B2 Romanian Dead Lifts
B3 Kettle Bell Swings (Set of 10)

C1 Core

Day 2:

A1 Over Head Press
A2 Curtsy Squats
A3 Power Cleans

B1 Barbell Row
B2 Weighted walking lunges (12 to 14 reps)
B3 Glute Bridges with Stability Ball

C1 Core

Day 3:

A1 Rear Squats
A2 Poliquin Step Ups
A3 Kettle Bell Swings (Set of 10)

B1 Dead Lifts
B2 Romanian Dead Lifts
B3 Dips

C1 Core

As you can see, it is a mix of standard lifts with some Olympic power lifting and, shockingly, some upper body work.  I am learning how important posture is to overall fitness, and seeing that I sit for 8+ hours a day at the office, I thought it would be good to add some upper body exercises to balance out my build.  These lifts are also, largely, compound lifts, meaning they work a lot of different muscles at the same time.  My goal will be to do 2 rounds of each super set, then follow it up with core work, likely P90X Ab Ripper X, because it hits everything in the core.

Aside from weights, I am planning on spending a lot of recovery time on the bike, grinding away on my heart rate Zone 2 target rides.  The gola here is base cardiovascular fitness, something that gets neglected over the winter months.  Beyond that, I am developing an off-skates program that will include plyos, dry-land drills from the Mantia Clinic, and slide board.  Ideally, I will take one to two days off per week.  I hope it will make for a productive off-season.


Event Report: Mantia Clinic

There have already been two very good reports on this Clinic here and here, and I don’t want to regurgitate a review of the entirety of the event.  However, I do think it is worth posting what I learned, in addition to a little about the event, and some pictures/video.

This was a unique clinic, as I understand the clinics that Joey typically run are optimized for indoor racing around a 100m flat track that typically take place in roller rinks on coated wooden floors.  Pretty much the entire group in attendance at this clinic skated outdoor over marathon distance.  His original intent was to run the clinic at the Roseville Oval in Roseville, Minnesota.  However, the weather didn’t cooperate, and we ended up using the back-up location at a nearby elementary school.  While the venue ended up being indoor, the clinic focused entirely on technique, including the double push.

Joey Mantia working with skaters in Roseville, MN.  Image courtesy of www.inlineskatempls.com

Joey Mantia working with skaters in Roseville, MN. Image courtesy of www.inlineskatempls.com

We did two sessions, and at the start of each session we started off with dry land training.  Joey showed us the basics of body position and focused heavily on weight transfer.  He said that the core of efficient skating is weight transfer, and many of the drills dealt with balance and weight transfer.  We spent a lot of time off-skates in the skater squat, which looks something like this:

IMG_2212 IMG_2211

I say something like this because I am not as low as I could be.  If you look very closely at the picture from the front, you can see that my knees are collapsing in a little bit, notably on the right side.  I shot these pictures after a heavy lift/plyo work out, so I was a bit rickety.  Everything in skating basically starts from here.  The only significant variation in body position is how deep you sit in the skater squat.  As for the actual weight transfer, there were a couple of terms that kept coming up that are good points to focus on.

First, “leading with the hip” is something often said by coaches, but something I didn’t really understand until asking for clarification during the Clinic.  The idea of leading with the hip is really a way of communicating where your body position should be when balancing on one leg in the skater squat.  The hip should be positioned to the outside of the foot on which you are standing.  The idea here is all about where your center of gravity is to distribute your weight so you can remain balanced and used weight transfer to generate push power.  It should look something like this:

IMG_2215

IMG_2219

The picture on the bottom shows the concept of leading with the hip better than the picture on the top.  You can see my hip position is beyond the outside of my foot.  This also helps to line up my nose, knees, and toes.  That is the second term that is often used in describing technique, and something that came up over and over again during the clinic.  The concept of “nose-knees-toes” describes the position your body should be in during the glide phase of the push when skating.  The idea here, when looking at your body position from the front, is to see your nose, knees, and toes aligned vertically.  Neither of these pictures show this position adequately.  The picture on the top shows good knee-toe position with my head a little far to the right.  The picture on the bottom shows good alignment of my nose, knees, and toes, but my balance is off.  Ideally, your nose-knees-toes should align perpendicular to the ground, or as Joey says, “imagine a line from your foot to the ceiling lining up your nose, knees, and toes.”  This is a great way to think about where your body position should be, even if these aren’t the best examples.  Weight transfer is the next part of the drill, and this basically requires you to shift your weight between these two positions stalling on one foot.  As a check for balance, it helps to lift the opposite foot, or recovery foot, off of the ground.  If you are well balanced, you should be able to lift the opposite foot off of the ground, but do so without a jerk or jump.  It may look something like this:

20140610 Dry-Land

This image was created from some video of my dry-land skating.  You can see the the nose-knees-toes alignment here, but another important technique issue comes to light when reviewing the video.  The hips and shoulders should remain steady and on the same line.  I discussed this in my post about slide-board earlier this year.  This is accomplished by engaging the core and focusing on lateral movement through the hips.  You can also see here how leading with the hip works, as my hip on each side moves past the center-line over the foot.  It isn’t perfect, though, as there is still some weakness in my right knee and a slight hop on raising my foot off the ground that causes my hip to shift up slightly on each side.

Weight transfer is what allows you to put power in the push without expending extra energy.  It is pretty much the Holy Grail of skating.  So much so that you could skate only with weight transfer on classic push and add the double push to average 18 miles per hour.  Well, at least he can.  These drills provided me with very concrete examples of where my technique is failing.  You can see this stuff in books and on the internet, but it never really sinks in until someone coaches you and/or you see it demonstrated first hand.  The key to fast skating over marathon distances is efficiency.  Something I have known and been working on, but these drills are the tools that will hopefully make me more efficient, and, as a result, faster.

After all of the off-skate work, we got on skates and basically did the same set of drills standing and then rolling.  We also did a lot of drills to make us aware of our edges.  The idea here was to get better on our skates, work balance, and be more in control of the skates rather than having the skates be in control of us.  Joey mentioned that Justin Stelly doesn’t have to train very hard to be fast because he is so good at controlling his skates.  He makes a good point, and being able to control my skates is something that I need to work on.  I am planning on adding a lot of these on-skate drills to my training.  Looks like I will be in the market for some cones.  I was only able to capture video of the first half of the day, but you can see the drills in the following video:

I had the opportunity to have lunch with Joey and a couple of the guys that organized the clinic.  He had some really interesting insights on the sport, on the coaching situation for US Speed Skating on the ice side, and his plan to race indoor and outdoor nationals this year.  I am glad to see he is staying so active in the inline community, as it seems that some of the Olympians that have made the switch to ice haven’t done much for inline since finishing the Olympics.  Of particular note, Joey says he doesn’t think inline should be trying to be in the Olympics because of the limited number of medals.  I think he is right, too.  His analogy was that if it were a winter sport, it would already be in the program, but since the summer program is so packed, you would be taking medals away from other sports, and “if wrestling isn’t safe, no one is.”

The afternoon started with more dry land and then back to skates.  The dry land session was a rehash of what we did in the morning and was very helpful in solidifying the drills to memory.  The afternoon on-skate session dealt with double push.  He showed us a lot of drills originally designed by Eddy Matzger.  It was a great session, and I realized, in the room full of local skating luminaries, that we all have things we need to work on.  Following Joey’s philosophy, you have to work hard at the things you are bad at doing in order to get better.  There are a couple of videos floating around YouTube of the event and there are several posted in InlineSkateMPLS that are worth checking out.

After the afternoon on-skates session, Joey did some question and answer and then demonstrated some drills and technique on the slide board.  The most shocking thing I learned during the Q&A was that Joey doesn’t lift weights.  He has legs like tree trunks, but doesn’t lift.  I was, and still am, shocked.  The secret to his strength is isometric and plyometric exercise.  He does wall-sits to failure, which, for him, is 5 to 10 minutes.  He also demonstrated some very basic plyos, many of which I am doing, but some that I am working into my workouts.  The biggest new change, though, will be wall sits to failure.  I am not going to replace lifting weights with plyos and isometric work outs because I am too far behind to work up to that level of strength, and I don’t see any negative effects from weight lifting on my skating.  This also was another interesting lesson, just because it doesn’t work for Joey doesn’t mean it won’t work for me.

Overall, this was a great experience.  I would highly recomend that anyone who has an interest in becoming a better skater attend this kind of clinic, taught by Joey or any other world class skater.


Goodbye Summer…

My last post generally discussed the end of the 2013 outdoor inline season.  This post will probably downright lament the same.  Yesterday, it got cold here.  For the first time since early spring, I dragged my Pea Coat out of the closet because the short walk to work from where I park in the morning would be brisk enough to require protection from the elements.  Then, over lunch, it snowed.  It was only flurries, but it was still demoralizing on its own.  Any outdoor skating will now require thermal compression gear.  This is the hardest time of year for me.  I am trying to switch gears, stay positive, and develop a training plan that will both fit with the busyness of home life and the restrictions of the weather.

Focusing on training now is hard because there isn’t a real goal.  With the impending demise of the Roller-Dome, the first race of next year will likely be the Chicagoland Tour, unless I manage to get to Apostle Island.  That means I have 10 months of training before the next race.  I find this realization a bit hard to swallow.  Realistically, the next race is Roll for the Roses, but, as a 10k, it is really just a warm up for the marathons.  So, 10 months… Now what?

Weights:

I am working in consistent weight lifting this year.  Unlike last year, where I spent two months in a build phase, I am going to incorporate weight lifting with other forms of training.  My first weight lift was a couple of weeks ago.  I have had three or so sessions so far with weights.  I have learned a couple of things very quickly.  First, I am not far off of my lifting progress from last year.  I started conservatively at 130 pounds.  Three lifts in, I am ready to aggressively increase the weight for squats and Romanian dead lifts.  However, it is hard to find plates for my standard set.  More on this in a moment.  Second, I need to get or make a squat stand.  Event with straps, I struggle to hold on to the barbell for the duration of a work out and get through all of the sets I want to get through.  My hands and fingers cramp and get weak.  This may only partially be a grip strength problem, as I have had problems with my wrists from my former life as a high school gymnast.  A squat rack will mostly eliminate this problem because I will not have to lift the bar with my hands as much.  It also means better form on my squats.  Third, I think Olympic power lifts need to be added to the plan.  This necessitates the switch to Olympic lifting equipment.  I have tried power cleans with my standard bar and the bar doesn’t move correctly to be able to work good form in the lift.  I am going to keep practicing to get the bounce and lift form, but won’t really be able to incorporate this kind of lift until I get an Olympic weight set.  In addition, it is easier to get plates for Olympic bars in large quantities, which helps with my concern about aggressively increasing weight for my lifts.  Finally, I need to figure out a plan.  I have been working with super sets of hack squats with Romanian Dead Lifts and curtsy squats with Poliquin squats.  I will be investigating my options.  I like super setting, but I need to make sure I am getting as much out of the lifts as I can when I only lift one day per week.

Off Skate:

Be it dry-land drills or slide board, off skate is necessary for functional training in the off-season.  I want a day to focus on off-skate.  I am working on building a new slide board after my other one died after a tough off-season last year.  Sadly, it wasn’t capable of keeping up with the “speed skater power,” or, at least, that is what the guy who made it said.  The new slide board only cost about $30, so, really, there is no excuse not to build one.  However, the parts can be hard to find.  More on that in a future post.  I will also be adding weighted low walks to the list of off-skate drills.  I tried them once with 20 pounds in each hand.  It will certainly be worth it.  More on dry land in the future as I work things out on this front also.

Volume Cardio:

Much like early this year, I want to incorporate volume cardio in my training.  I learned that spending time away from dedicated cardio while competing in endurance events doesn’t net good results.  My best marathon time last year, oddly, was the Metrodome Marathon, but my best finish was the NorthShore Inline Marathon.  Finish time doesn’t matter as much as finish place, so I need to be in physical condition that will allow me to skate with the fast guys, which means I need more cardio.  Right now, that will involve spending a lot of time on the bike in the trainer for long duration rides or interval sets.  Regardless, I think this is part of what was missing in my game last off-season, so I want to make sure this is included.

Skating:

The Roller-Dome dies this year, and the Dome season is only scheduled to go until December 27.  I made it there on October 14, 2013, for the season opener.  I went out to skate some intervals, get my feet back, and just to enjoy rolling in the dome.  I got out there and decided to time trial a half marathon.  I did 35 laps in 46:40, which is a new solo personal best for the distance.  The dome is deceiving though.  The average pace was just short of 17 miles per hour, which felt pretty good.  Total, I tracked 72 laps in the dome, right around 27 miles.  Not all of it was at speed, though.  I am hoping to get to the dome at least 2 more times before the end of the year.  We will see.  Otherwise, inline skating will be limited to making public sessions at the nearest roller rink, or skating with Team Rainbo for their indoor practices when I am in Chicago.  Otherwise, I am stuck hanging up my inlines until the weather breaks in the spring.

Ice, though, is a viable alternative.  I invested in an entry level pair of fixed blade long track skates, and I am hoping to skate at the local outdoor rinks that seem to be set up all over town.  This will at least let me practice technique, and get me on skates of some variety to train for next summer’s inline season.  Also, the Metro area has a lot of options for ice, as the Roseville Oval is close enough to day trip on occasion.  They also have speed specific practices and classes that may also be an option for winter cross training.  Either way, this is something I will explore, though, at heart, I will always be an inline skater, and will continue to train for marathon events.  Moving to the great white north has required I be a little inventive with my training, and I think I can benefit from the cross over between disciplines.

Getting on Schedule:

I noted at the beginning of this much longer than expected post that life is a lot more hectic than I expected.  That said, I am aiming to train a minimum of 3 days per week.  Day 1 is weights, though I am still deciding on a routine.  Day 2 is off skate, which will be mostly slide board, plyometrics, and dry-land drills.  Day 3 is volume cardio, which includes time on the bike or skating in some form, but could include running, stairs, or other cardio workouts.  This unscheduled schedule is the best I can do for the moment.  What is important is that I keep training.  I would hate to have made it as far as I have this year, increasing average solo speeds to around 15.5 miles per hour, placing well at events, sticking with the fast advanced packs, only to lose it all due to not training in the off season.  In ice speed skating, your summer makes your race season.  In inline speed skating, your winter makes your race season.  Now its time to do work.


Training and Technique

Skating has been somewhat frustrating in 2013.  In 2012, outdoor skating started in January, thanks to some very odd weather, which also allowed regular outdoor training to start in late February and early March.  By the time the Metrodome Inline Marathon rolled around, most of the skaters in the relative south of the United States had been regularly logging miles.  Since my wife and I were in Chicago, that included my ability to get to indoor skating practices with Team Rainbo.  Since moving to Minnesota, things haven’t been as easy.  Last year, after the end of my competitive season, I took about 10 weeks to focus on making the move to Minnesota and to work on functional strength training.  I did not get back on the cardio bandwagon until the start of 2013.  As I have previously reported, I spent a lot of time on my bike in the trainer working on intervals and target heart rate work outs.  Before the Metrodome Marathon this year, I skated 2 times.  Somehow, I was able to put down a new personal best marathon time in the Dome.  I attribute this to my better overall fitness from training last year, and better functional strength from my time lifting weights.  However, I feel like I could have done better with more skate specific training.  That is the struggle of the Metrodome, it is so early in the year that if you haven’t been working hard through the off-season, you feel every mile.  Reviewing the data from the race, though, I also noticed my heart rate was very high during the entire race.  While I generally feel no ill effect from pushing a 155+ beat per minute heart rate for 90 minutes, this metric suggests I am not using my abilities in the most efficient form.  As a result, I have decided to get back to focusing on technique in the early preparatory part of the season.  I am also adding interval training on skates based on Barry Publow’s book Speed on Skates.

As for technique, I looked at a lot of the pictures I found online from the race.  All of the pictures of me skating showed me skating while basically standing straight up.  The rest of the technique looked acceptable, at least insofar as my basic push, recovery and under push.  However, by standing straight up, I can’t get the benefit of the power from a full leg extension necessary to increase my average moving speed, and hopefully make myself more efficient.  While researching ways to better this technique, and trying to find drills that will help, I came across a YouTube channel for some ice speed skaters in Canada called DG Skating.  The one video I have found most helpful so far has been on the dry skate video dealing with the fall, lateral push, and skate set-down.  The video follows:

If you watch the shots from the front, the demonstration shows the skater holding his foot off the ground as long as possible in the side push before the set-down and recovery.  I have typically recovered as part of my outward push so that my recovery leg is on the ground as I am pushing from the side.  I think this has been exacerbated to some degree from my work on the slide board, also.  As I work on the slide board, I will also work on this delayed set-down.  The benefit of this delayed set-down is to maximize the contribution of gravity to the push, using the concept of “the fall” as part of the standard speed skating stroke.

I finally managed to get out to skate outside the last week or two, as spring has finally started to arrive in the northern part of the midwest.  So far, I haven’t skated long distances, but I have worked on this particular element of my technique.  It generally felt more efficient as I was able to slow my cadence down, get more glide out of my wheels, and apply more power through the push for a longer period of time per stroke.  This also helped me stay lower in the skating position, and not skate while standing straight up.  I will continue to work on this element of my technique, and hopefully post video soon.  I am working on getting some group skates organized, but schedules have been difficult to work out.  Now that the weather is getting nicer, I hope I can get some local skaters together for a regular weekend outing.  Now, though, I am headed out to skate because this may be the last nice day this week.


More Slide Board…

It’s like more cow bell, but not.  Since training is limited here, the best option I have for skate specific training is the slide board.  I spent a lot of time on the slide board in January and February.  So much so that the slide board is now breaking.  I contacted the manufacturer about the problem, whereupon he informed me that the slide board was not made for powerful speed skaters.  One of the ends has a small tear in the sliding surface and the bumper on the same side has torn and is starting to separate from the board.  As a result, I am investigating a replacement.

The video shows some improvement in my body position on the board.  Notably, my nose, knees, and toes are in good alignment as I glide from one side of the board to the other.  I have been working on this element a lot, and my balance is getting much better while on the board, resulting in the better body position.  I need to get lower in the seated position, though, and I could stand to work more on weight transfer and my recovery foot movement also.  Since the board is starting to fail, I have to put 50 pounds of weight on the end that is starting to break.  I have also taken to lubricating the board with furniture polish.  I want to look into getting some other spray on lubricant that is supposed to work as well or better than the furniture polish.  Hopefully, we will see spring soon, and I won’t have to replace the board until later this year.  Otherwise, I will post the results of the search for a replacement.  I am also going to be working on a side by side video to better demonstrate the differences in technique on the board thus far.  As always, more to follow.


Getting Back on the Horse

The last couple of weeks have been tough.  I have done my best to keep my work outs consistent.  The beginning of December was a good start.  I was keeping up with my planned weight sets, and working out between 4 and 5 days a week.  Then we hit the holidays and I felt like I hit a wall.  Work stress went up, time went down, and by the time I got home, the only thing I could think about was eating and sleeping.  December 10 was the last day I was on skates, which is frustrating in its own right.  I feel like I am working out for no reason because I don’t see the benefit of the off-skate training without an hour on skates each week or so.

Lately, I have been spending a lot of time on the bike.  I had a great work out yesterday, doing a total of 30 minutes with a max heart rate of 171 and an average heart rate of 145.  That was a great work out.  While the bike is easy to do because it is a great work out, I feel like it limits my overall fitness.  For Christmas, my parents got me a 3G Ultimate Slide board.  This has been a great tool, and I am surprised at how great a work out the slide board can be.  The website is poorly designed, but the slide board is solid.  The video that comes with the slide board is kind of pointless and doesn’t provide a lot of value to the board, the board is great, and very slick with the boots that come with the package.  The travel bag also leaves a bit to be desired, but it does the job.  I got the 8 foot version, and I am able to use the entire space.

Tonight, I spent 15 minutes on the slide board this evening.  It was a lot harder of a work out that I thought.  This is the first work out where I pushed the pace and stayed consistent in my effort without taking breaks.  It is a very hard work out, but definitely provides benefits in terms of form and technique.  I can very which aspects of form I focus on as I go thought eh work out also.  In that 15 minutes, I hit a max hear rate of 167 with an average heart rate of 136.  More to come on the slide board in the future.

This weekend I get to skate at the Rollerdome.  I am hoping to get a good idea of the conditions for the Marathon in March, and am hoping it will provide the motivation to keep me working out running up to the race in March.  The weather has been unseasonally warm here also.  If, on the off change, we get dry days with temperatures in the mid to high 30’s, I may also try to get some outdoor skating in during the week and on the weekends.  While I recognize this is highly unlikely, I prefer skating to other work outs.

More to come soon.