This week's tip:

The Pre-Race Day Workout

For some, a light workout is better than none at all

By Bill Numerick

Bill Numerick skating

Bill Numerick on the road

Photo: Evelyn Numerick

Some skaters believe in taking a day off from training before a race. They say this helps them arrive at the starting line fully rested.

But that’s not what works best for me.

I perform better if I do a workout — albeit, a short one — on the day before I race.

The object of this pre-race day workout is not to develop speed or conditioning. It’s too late for that. Instead, it’s to keep me sharp and agile and feeling refreshed.

I start my pre-race day workout by warming up with five or ten minutes of easy skating.

Then, I do some surges, gradually building up my speed without going full out and then easing back down.

Finally, I cool down with another five to ten minutes of easy skating.

The workout takes me no more than 30 minutes. By the end of it, I’ve worked up a sweat without tiring myself or stressing my muscles.

On the next day — race day — I wake up refreshed and ready to roll.

To make sure I’ve got time for this pre-race ritual, I try to arrive a day early for events.

I find that my workout also helps me release the tightness and lethargy that develops on long drives or flights.

Pre-race day workouts may not be for everyone. But if you are like me, adding one to your routine could help you achieve a new personal best.


Here’s my pre-race workout in more detail:

  • Warm up: 10 minutes.
  • Five sets of surges: Build up speed for 15 seconds up to 85-90 percent; ease back down the next 15 seconds to 60-65 percent. Skate an additional 30 seconds at 60-65 percent. (The gradual increases/decreases in speed are key.)
  • Cool down: 10 minutes. (Remember, warm ups and cool downs help prevent injuries and speed up recovery.)
  • A little light stretching.


Bill Numerick founded the Straight Wheels inline racing team of the 1990s. But after breaking his leg, he quit skating in 1997. Over the next decade, his weight ballooned to 260 pound. “That was enough to motivate me to put my skates back on again,” he said. He started skating again in 2010 and finished second that year in the advanced division of the Northshore Inline Marathon. This year, he is a member of the Pinnacle Racing Team and one of the leaders in the Pro Open Division of the National Roller Cup. By day, he works as a web developer in his native Traverse City, MI.

Pinnacle Racing website

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