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This week's tip:

Training Express
How to make the most of your workouts

By Debbie Rice
(Originally published Dec 15, 2006)

Skaters in the Cold

Debbie Rice on her way to a third-place finish in the 2006 Miss and Out Criterium in St. Paul, MN.
Photo: Darlene Prois


How many times have you thought, I don't have enough time to train properly to reach my goals?

Well, guess what? ... You’re not alone.

Many of us "mature" skaters balance multiple roles in life (bread winner, parent, spouse, volunteer worker, etc.). As a result, we often find that 24 hours a day is not enough.

I fall into this category. After working all day and taking care of my other responsibilities, I have little time left for training. So I make the most of my workouts.

I mainly compete in marathons, but you would never know it from my training schedule, which consists of 10K skates (6.2 miles), maybe 2-3 times a week — by myself. The only time I skate a full marathon is in an actual race.

Here's some of the things you can do to make every workout count:

1. Push yourself.

If you are in your comfort zone, you are not pushing hard enough. Always strive to achieve a pace that is fast, yet at a level that you can maintain. If you feel like you are about to bonk, slow up and concentrate on your form. Proper technique is a must and is a powerful tool for saving energy in a race. Once you have caught your breath, accelerate back to the speed that is uncomfortable — but also remember to skate efficiently and think about your technique: Push through with your heel, stay low, and set your skates down tilted inward (double push).

2. Go It Alone

If you are skating with a group and you are in the back of a paceline feeling fresh, pull out of the draft and work yourself by pulling into the headwind. Or better yet, do some breakaways. That way, when you are in an actual race sitting in the draft, it will feel effortless. ... Don’t try to save energy and win the practice, get out there and make the most of each workout!

3. Do Your Intervals

Pick a day to skate intervals. This will really raise your heart rate and maximize your fitness level. Skate steady for a minute. Then go all out for 20-30 seconds. Repeat this throughout your workout. This will help build power for acceleration and improve your sprint technique, as well as give you agility and maneuverability. 

4. Be a Couch Athlete, Not a Coach Potato

If you are not able to get out on your skates due to weather or other issues, don’t turn into a couch potato. Before you get too comfortable, stand up, bend a knee and perch one foot on the couch behind you. Then do one-legged squats, slow and steady. Go all the way up and all the way down. You will really feel the burn. Try three sets of 15 on each leg. Later, you can do them while holding dumbbells. ... Dry-land exercises are a great way to strengthen your skate muscles.

5. Stay Active

Take the stairs. Park your car far from entrances so you have to walk. Stretch while sitting at your desk. Proper nutrition is also key. 

This type of short-circuit training might not be for everyone. But if you are strapped for time, it sure can help.


Debbie RiceDebbie Rice doesn't let on, but she owns one of the most amazing resumes in inline skating — if not the entire sports world! For starters, she is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records (or at least was listed when skating had its own category) as the fastest woman ever on skates. Apparently fearless, she was clocked on a downhill run at 61 mph. Less dramatic, but equally dangerous, was Debbie's stint on the Roller Jam television series in the 1990s. A star of the Florida Sundogs, the petite Texan broke her back in two places when an opposing skater knocked her into a railing. ... A Houston native, Debbie trained and raced on the same team as Chad Hedrick and Cheryl Ezzell and won 15 indoor national championships, in addition to numerous outdoor races. Now 39, she is still racing — and winning! In recent years, she has twice won the pro master division of the Northshore Inline Marathon. Just last month, she won the Texas Roundup Criterium in Waco. ... In addition to her day job, she is a Bont sales representative and team manager.

Debbie's MySpace page


Related reading:

Skate Tip of the Week Archive
Beginners Guide to Outdoor Racing
Beginners Guide to Inline Skating




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