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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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Nov. 4, 2009

Is Interval Training Important?

QDear Bill: Could you please give your opinion about interval training. Thanks in advance, Lauri

Hi, Lauri: If you want to be a top skater, interval training is a must. Done correctly, it helps you develop both speed and endurance. I am a big believer in 500-meter intervals, which I consider the basis of speed skating. You can't succeed in an inline marathon without a fast 500 meters, and that's just what you develop with 500-meter intervals. Interval training also builds your tolerance to lactic acid, which causes the burning in your muscles when you are pushing them hard.

Some skaters favor intervals of other lengths. Sprinters often do lots of 200-meter intervals while endurance skaters often stretch their intervals to 5000 meters. But for most skaters, I recommend 500-meter intervals.

It's usually best to do 500-meter intervals in a group setting or practice. That way the intensity is more likely to stay high from start to finish. If you are training alone, you may have better results with 400- or 300-meter intervals.

Either way, here's an outline of how to build interval training into your skating season:

  • General preparation phase (preseason): 10 x 500 with 3 minutes recovery
  • Sports specific preperation phase (early season): 8 x 500 meters with 5 minutes recovery
  • Main competition phase (mid-season): 4 x 500 meters with 10 minutes recovery

Cheers, Bill

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