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This week's column:

How To Train for an Inline Marathon

Feb. 1, 2012




QHi, Bill: I plan to skate my first inline marathon this summer. I have been training with an indoor speed team, and I have run a marathon and a number of half marathons. But I haven’t been able to find a training plan designed for inline marathons. My goal is to skate the marathon in under 1 hour and 45 minutes. Do you know of any day-by-day plans I could follow? - Rachel from Mantua, Ohio.

Ask the Coach!

Hi, Rachel: I can’t point you to any day-to-day marathon training plans. But I can give you the basic ingredients of a good plan and leave it to you to create your schedule.

For starters, remember that training for an inline marathon is a lot different than training for a running marathon. Typically, runners prepare for a marathon by focusing on building endurance. But skating a marathon only takes half the time of running one. So endurance is not as much of a factor.

What is of primary importance for marathon skaters is technique. To be successful in a marathon, you must be able to skate fast with relative ease. That means learning to make your wheels work for you, rather than the other way around.

If you are unsure about your technique, read my “Six Steps to Speed on Skates” and practice, practice, practice.

If you want to do more than reach your target time, you will also have to develop a fast sprint. Most skate marathons are decided in the final sprint, so if you hope to be competitive, you need to be able to get up to top speed, even when you are tired at the end of a race.

One of the best ways to develop your final sprint is with 500-meter interval training. Twice a week, do ten 500-meter sprints with three minutes of rest between each one.

If possible, do your intervals in a group. That will keep the pace fast and give you a chance to share lead outs.

Another good drill for marathon skaters is “Minute, Minute.” In this drill, you skate for one minute at a fast pace and the next minute at a steady pace. Keep rotating — fast, steady — for 30 minutes to an hour.

This drill prepares you for the surges and breakaways of the peloton. It is practiced by many World Cup skaters.

In addition to these two drills, do a weekly long skate of 20,000 to 40,000 meters. This will prepare you for the sustained effort of the marathon.

If you do some of your fitness training on a bike, be sure to attack some hills. On steep climbs, you can hit and extend your anaerobic threshold

I’ve already given you a lot to do. But there is one more thing I would suggest: two workouts a week of plyometric-offskate training. Especially helpful are low walks.

Hope that helps and best of luck in your marathon!

Cheers, Bill

Ask Bill Begg!

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World renowned coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating in his weekly advice column, "Ask Bill Begg!" ... Every Wednesday on the Inline Planet.