By Rebecca George-O'Hearn
Rebecca George-O'Hearn on an elliptical trainer.
I live in a place where skating is only possible seven months of the year. Snow covers our roads from about November through April, and we don't have any place nearby to skate indoors.
But that doesn't stop me from doing my best to stay in shape.
Here's what I do to make sure I'm ready to roll when spring arrives:
I do a cardiovascular workout for 50 minutes five times a week. I use an elliptical trainer, but you can use whatever equipment you prefer.
Two of the five days are devoted to "easy pace" workouts. On these days, I maintain an aerobic heart rate — elevating it, but not so much that I can't hold a conversation.
The other three days I do interval training, which approximates life in a pace line. I get my heart rate up to a very uncomfortable level (anaerobic) for about three minutes, then come back down to race pace for about five minutes. I repeat this sequence for the entire 50-minute session.
There are many ways to do intervals, and you should do what works best for you. But I always make sure that at least once in my interval workout, I push myself to my maximum heart rate. Otherwise, I'd have a steep climb to get into race shape in the spring.
An elliptical trainer, or any other stationary fitness equipment, is no substitute for skating. But, if you can't skate or want a change of routine, using fitness equipment is a great way to achieve the same heart rate goals and get a great workout.
I love the outdoors, even when I can't skate. Whenever I get a chance, I go skiing and snow shoe running.
It really doesn't matter what activity you do as long as you apply the same training strategy. I can do cardio and interval training on the slopes, in the snow, or on my elliptical trainer at home — whatever fits my mood.
To avoid losing leg power during the offseason, do plyometrics. I work on leg strength once a week. This is my routine:
Whatever you do, don't let the cold winter months put you in a fitness funk. Set your sites on your first spring race, focus and grind it out.
When the snow melts, you'll be fit and ready to go.
Rebecca George-O'Hearn burst onto the outdoor racing scene in 2006 with a second place finish in the Hoyt Lake Half Marathon followed by a win in the Hayward Inline Marathon. Since then, she has proved herself to be one of the nation's top outdoor skaters. Last year, she finished second in the Texas Road Rash, Hayward Inline Challenge and Athens to Atlanta Road Skate. She also claimed second place in the pro women's division of the National Roller Cup. George, 25, lives in Baxter, MN, with her husband, physician-skater James O'Hearn, her three sons and stepson. (photo: Darlene Prois)
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