Planet Interview with Barry Publow:

Author and Coach Talks About His Return to Racing ... Also, His Plans for 2005, Going from Ice to Asphalt, and Common Mistakes Made by Skaters

By Robert "Author and Slouch" Burnson

For the last four years, Barry Publow the Skate Racer has been overshadowed by Barry Publow the Coach, Barry Publow the Instructor, Barry Publow the Skate Writer, and even Barry Publow the Bicycle Racer (not to mention Barry Publow the Swim Coach and Dad.)

But this year, Barry Publow the Skate Racer is having his second coming. In a few short weeks, the Canadian has emerged as the surprise star of the new Marathon International Skating series on ice. Of the six races he has skated so far, he's won five (usually in dramatic fashion) and finished second in the other.

In the most recent race, the 50 K at the North American Marathon Championships on Lake Morey, Vermont, he finished 2 minutes and 27 seconds in front of his nearest competitor.

So what's behind Barry's new success? ... Well, it turns out that Barry has been training hard since the fall. And training, of course, is something Barry knows about. Not only is he the coach of the Canada Roller Sports team, but he literally wrote the book on inline speed skating: Speed On Skates.

Aside from that, Barry is simply a terrific skater. A former Canadian national champion, he still holds Canadian records in the 300 and 500 meter.

Anyway, we caught up with Barry via email. ... Thanks, Barry. And best of luck throughout 2005!

Robert: Your recent winning streak on ice has been quite impressive. What are you doing differently?

Barry: I think there are a number of reasons why I’ve been skating so well this season. For starters I was very consistent in my training in the fall transition months when it’s too cold and miserable to skate outdoors but there is no ice or snow yet. I also did a lot of indoor cycling (spinning), strength training, and plyometrics.  Secondly, I managed to log quite a few miles in my legs once the ice was in. I spent one weekend on the oval in Quebec City and then another weekend running an ice workshop in Lake Placid, NY.

Robert: You've said after your recent wins that you would like to skate the inline marathon in the World Championships this year in China. Does that mean we will see you competing in a lot of inline marathons this spring? ... How will you train for the inline season?

Barry: I will be doing a lot more inline racing this season. The last 3 years I’ve been skating on and off but never training very hard or focusing on major events. Instead I’ve been racing my road bike as part of the Ottawa-based Cycle Logik Racing Team. If I can transfer my fitness on the ice over to wheels come spring I’ll be primed for a good year. I can still race with the big boys, but this year I am also eligible to race in the Pro Master’s division. My (Bont) team is super strong and Norm Kirby won all the major Pro Master events last season. I think our strengths will complement each other in just the right way. 

And as far as the World Championships go, I will likely be there as the coach for the Canadian Team.  The marathon is on the last day so I can race this event without detracting from my coaching duties during the week.  I have no major aspirations for success at this level, but since I’ll be there already it only makes sense to consider racing. Plus, it’s always fun to race with the guys that I coach.

We have a busy spring running workshops, and I normally stay a week to spend some time logging early season miles.  My first race will likely be the National Capital Marathon here in Ottawa at the end of May.


Breakaway Skate web site

Marathon Skating International


Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson


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