Making the most of them
By Nicole Begg
Everyone knows that it's important to warm up and cool down before and after every workout. The slow pace loosens stiff muscles and purges accumulated toxins.
But I've found another reason not to skimp on warm-ups and cool-downs: they provide a great opportunity to work on technique.
As with all training, the trick is to skate with purpose. At the beginning and end of your workouts, slow everything down and focus on how you are skating.
Are you on your outside edges? Is your push straight out to the side? Are you pronating?
Observe and correct. Use your warm-ups and cool-downs to break bad habits and develop good ones. If you don't, you may inadvertently reinforce bad ones.
I also find that cool-downs are a good time for a change of direction.
Reversing direction is important for skaters like me who do most of their training in the off-season on tracks.
Here in New Zealand, it's illegal to skate on the roads. (Nonetheless, I still get out there once a week, dodging the law as best I can.) So most of my skating is done indoors on a banked track, where the normal direction is counter-clockwise.
That's great for practicing left turns. But most of my racing is done on the road courses of the World Inline Cup, which have both left and right turns, so it's important for me to train in both directions. This kind of training also prevents muscles from becoming imbalanced.
Don't waste your warm-up and cool-down time. Use it to smash bad habits and perfect your technique.
Nicole Begg is one of the world's top inline speed skaters. The 20-year-old New Zealand native won her second world championship last August in Colombia (1000 meters, track). She also won two bronze medals and finished fourth in the individual rankings of the World Inline Cup. She is the daughter of Bill and Cheryl Begg. Bill is one of the top inline coaches in the world and the author of the Inline Planet's Ask Bill Begg! column. Cheryl is a former world champion on quad speed skates. Nicole became one of the most Googled skaters in the world this year after she posed for semi-nude photos, one of which appeared in the January issue of Playboy. (2007)
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