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Ask Bill Begg!

Skating's top coach answers your questions

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World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.

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June 11, 2009

Training Solo for Sprints

QDear Bill: I compete in short distance races: 300, 500 and 1000 meters. But I train alone and am not sure how to best prepare for events. I particularly wonder what would help me improve my performance in the final laps of 500 and 1000 meter races? Thanks a lot, Emiliano Jujuy, Argentina

Hi, Emiliano: As far as I'm concerned, 500 meters is the most important distance. If you don't have a good 500 meters, you stand no chance of winning a bunch sprint in a big marathon, let alone, suceeding in sprint events. At high level competitions, there are usually 500 meter heats, quarter-finals and semis prior to the finals, so in addition to speed, you need stamina to win.

Not knowing how much time you have for training, I can't make precise recommendations. But here are some general suggestions:

1) Interval training

Do an interval workout at least once a week.

Early in the season, during the general preparation phase of training, skate:

Eight 1000 meter intervals with three minutes rest between intervals.

During the mid-season, skate:

Eight 500 meter intervals with five minutes of recovery time between each.

During the full competition season, skate:

Four 300 meter sprints with 10 minutes recovery.

2) ATP sprints

The goal of ATP training (named for adenosine triphosphate, the chemical used by the body to store energy) is to increase your explosive power, the kind you can tap into for quick bursts of speed that last a maximum of 15 seconds. This training is sports specific, meaning it must match what you do in your sport, and it should be kept separate from aerobic (lower intensity) and anaerobic (intense) parts of your workout.

For your ATP workout, skate:

Ten 6-second sprints at absolute maximum effort. Separate each sprint by 2 minutes of total passive recovery.

3) Ladders

Skate the following sequence up and down in the order listed:


Ladders are good when you're training alone because they prevent boredom and force you to skate distances you might otherwise miss.

4) Offskate plyometrics

Do the Beggsport 3 programme at least once a week, preferably twice. Vibrations, pulsing and jumps will improve your speed and agility.

Beggsport Phase 3 video from bonttv.com

I know training by yourself can be hard and lonely. For the last three years, my daughter Nicole has had to do her quality speed work alone. Over time, she has found it necessary to focus on 300-meter intervals because if she went longer, she started to sacrifice speed. Since you are a sprinter, you might want to keep that in mind. If you find you are giving up speed, shorten the intervals or stretch the recovery time.

Cheers, Bill

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