This week's column:
How Can I Get Back in Shape?
July 25, 2012
Hey, Coach: I'm 48 and getting back into skating after a 10-year hiatus. I'm 6 foot 3 and 195 pounds. I'm looking to become slightly leaner, increase cardiovascular fitness, have fun and eventually get into a routine where I' skate a few miles a day at a decent clip. Right now, I'm skating eight miles at least every other day at a leisurely pace. Although these workouts are perfect for me right now, I'm looking to step up my program and I am wondering what kind of training regiment you'd recommend. I've hunted around the Internet for ideas, but all I've managed to do is become confused. I enjoy your column as often as I can. Thanks in advance. - Michael from Mission San Jose, California
Hi, Michael: It sounds like you are skating outdoor, rather than indoors. In that case, get yourself started with a basic skate marathon training program. Even if you have no interest in racing, this kind of program will build your conditioning and take your skating to the next level … and beyond.
Start by adding 500-meter interval training to your routine one day a week. Do ten 500-meter sprints with three to five minutes of rest between them.
You can do them on a track, bike trail or low-traffic road — in fact, anywhere you can measure out 500 meters of good skating surface.
On another day of the week, do the minute-minute drill. In this drill, you skate hard at about 90 percent effort for one minute and then ease back to about 75 percent effort for the next minute.
Keep rotating — one minute hard, one minute moderate — for as long as you can. This drill builds endurance.
The top breakaway skaters in the World Inline Cup used to do this drill once a week for 40 to 60 minutes.
Devote another day of the week to a long distance skate of 30 kilometers (18 miles) or so at a steady pace. If this is too long, start at a comfortable distance and build up.
Whatever you do, don’t overdo it. You’re not 18 anymore!
For variety, or if you have some extra time, do a ladder drill. In ladder drills, you “climb the ladder” of distances and then climb back down. A good ladder series is 100 meters, 200, 300, 400, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 1,000.
As much as you enjoy skating, don’t neglect your off-skate program. Once a week, do an off-skate/plyometrics workout and another day, go for bike ride of at least two hours, preferably, over hilly terrain.
All the above may be more than you had in mind. If so, do what you can, but try to find time for the 500-meter intervals. They are the most effective training method for outdoor skaters.
To avoid overtraining, take at least one day off a week. If you can’t skip an entire day, at least quit training by 10 am one day and don’t start training the next day until at least 6 p.m.
Good luck and let us know how you’re doing.