This week's tip:
Give Yourself a Break
Why you need a break from training and how to do it
By Shannon Valerio
Sometimes a hike in Tahiti is just what you need.
photo: Ilene Kummer
Admit it. You’re an inline junkie! Some people have even hinted that you might have "a problem."
Month after month you diligently go out and skate every day. Maybe you’re a competitor, traveling to races and adhering to a strict training regimen. When the season is over, rather than take a break, you’re even more motivated and train even harder.
Yet, after a couple of years of hard training, you find yourself exhausted. You’re getting burned out and are considering quitting the sport you once loved.
"What went wrong? How can I bring back that lovin’ feeling?"
The answer may be simpler than you think. Take a break.
Yep, that’s right. Even the most competitive professional athletes take at least one month off a year as mandated by their coaching staff.
Why? First, the body needs to heal any nagging injuries, or just plain recover. If you don’t take a break, you might start feeling tired or getting sick more often.
Second, your mind needs a break. I know many of you are thinking. “But I love inline skating!” And right when a season ends is when many of us get motivated for the next season and start setting goals.
That’s all good and well, but if you start right away in your training without a break, a couple of years down the road you’ll be more likely to want your life back and just looking at your skates will cause you angst.
Finally, your body actually needs to de-condition in order to build up to an even higher level. It’s all very scientific, but think of it like weight loss. Once you hit a plateau, you have to make adjustments to get your body to respond again.
"How long of a break should I take?"
Competitive skaters should take a month off of training for “active recovery.” That doesn’t mean sit on your couch and eat ice cream every day. You can still go out and roll around, but keep your time on your skates to a minimum.
Try some cycling, running or whatever else you may enjoy doing that you don’t get to do during the competitive season. I like to get on the ice for some pick-up hockey ... in between golf games, of course.
“But I’m not a competitive skater. Do I still need a break?”
Yes, you do. But for fitness skaters, taking a month off can lead to weight gain or put you in a foul mood. So instead allow yourself some guilt-free time off throughout the year.
Take time to go on vacation with your family or friends minus the skates. Go on that week-long backpacking trip across Europe. A week off every couple of months won’t hurt your fitness and will help keep your body, and mind, fresh for skating.
Shannon Valerio has been a competitive athlete since she was 8 years old and has competed on both quads and inlines and in short track speed skating, ice hockey and road cycling. An accomplished Master’s inline speed skater, she has 14 national titles in indoors, banked track and road, and holds two national records. She has also placed in several marathons and is now both skating and cycling with the Riivo/Salt Creek Consultants Team. She is a certified strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer for Valerio Training, a company she founded in 2009.
• Valerio Training web site