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Fitness Skating and Training Forum Discussions about on-skate and off-skate training, hydration, sports nutrition, weight loss, injuries, sports medicine, and other topics related to training and physical fitness for skaters.

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Old July 7th, 2013, 09:14 AM   #1
ajasen
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Question Training Help for Marathon

My goal is to do a solo 42K marathon distance in late Sept (NYC Skate Marathon if I can figure out how to register for it!), which would mean doubling my current maximum distance. I could use some help in prioritizing how/what I train (distance skates, vs speed, vs technique drills, vs hills).

My skating history is that I did the 2008 100K solo in about 4hr 38min (13mph?). I stopped training anything for the last 4 yrs, and then started skating again this May. :-)

I don't live near other skaters, so for the moment I'm stuck with do-it-yourself.

Right now I my distance PR is a 20K on a flat course at ~14mph? By the end of 20K or so, my legs feel a little tired, I pronate a lot, and more than anything, my lower back starts spasming. The fastest I skate is 16.8mph over 2 miles.

What I'm *not doing* is focusing more than a couple of minutes on technique drills. I can feel that my push is all kinds of bad.

I try to skate 2-3x week for a total of 25miles/wk. I will probably up that to 4-5 if it stays dry.

Last edited by ajasen; July 7th, 2013 at 08:51 PM.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 12:28 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajasen View Post
My goal is to do a solo 42K marathon distance in late Sept (NYC Skate Marathon if I can figure out how to register for it!), which would mean doubling my current maximum distance. I could use some help in prioritizing how/what I train (distance skates, vs speed, vs technique drills, vs hills).

My skating history is that I did the 2008 100K solo in about 4hr 38min (13mph?). I stopped training anything for the last 4 yrs, and then started skating again this May. :-)

I don't live near other skaters, so for the moment I'm stuck with do-it-yourself.

Right now I my distance PR is a 20K on a flat course at ~14mph? By the end of 20K or so, my legs feel a little tired, I pronate a lot, and more than anything, my lower back starts spasming. The fastest I skate is 16.8mph over 2 miles.

What I'm *not doing* is focusing more than a couple of minutes on technique drills. I can feel that my push is all kinds of bad.

I try to skate 2-3x week for a total of 25miles/wk. I will probably up that to 4-5 if it stays dry.
Is your goal just to finish a 42k? It sounds like you can do that without much trouble, just keep skating.

Do you have a pace/time goal? If so, there is a lot you can do.

Right now, my goal is to finish the Chicagoland Marathon in 90 minutes. I finished in 93 minutes last year. I have been changing up my training during the season because I didn't really know what/how to do things. After some good discussion in the Training Thread, this is what I landed on. Once a week I do intervals, once a week I do a long tempo skate as close to race pace as I can (about 80% max effort), and once a week I do a hill skate (Chicagoland has lots of hills on the course). I usually do at least one "recovery skate" where I just go out for 6 to 7 miles, working on form, getting low, keeping my HR on the low end, usually under 150 bpm. The other days are rest days or I will do some low intensity cross training, like cycling.

Generally, to race fast, you need to train fast. This includes intervals. I usually do 2 minutes hard followed by two minutes slow, and repeat 5 times before taking a break. Long interval days means I do that twice. Check out the following link for a good breakdown of marathon training that includes intervals:

http://www.inlineplanet.com/2006-03/10-publow.html
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Old July 8th, 2013, 03:44 AM   #3
WJCIV
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and more than anything, my lower back starts spasming.
This is a sure sign that you need to do ab work. When your abs cannot support your upper body properly, the back compensates. It doesn't do the job as well and gets worn out.

My recommendation would be to modified jackknife situps, side jacknifes, russian twists, and planks. DO NOT do these every day. Just like any other muscle group, your abs need time to recuperate. Three times a week is enough.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 04:44 AM   #4
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just out of curiosity, ajasen... why did you specifically say SOLO marathon? Do you intend to purposfully not skate with others?

If you've not skated these distances before at pace you may want to do that ASAP in order to find out if your body can move enough fuel to your muscles for the entire duration. It's a bitch to discover during a race that your particular physiology needs Gu (or large amounts of water, or a salt capsule).
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Old July 8th, 2013, 05:14 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
This is a sure sign that you need to do ab work. When your abs cannot support your upper body properly, the back compensates. It doesn't do the job as well and gets worn out.

My recommendation would be to modified jackknife situps, side jacknifes, russian twists, and planks. DO NOT do these every day. Just like any other muscle group, your abs need time to recuperate. Three times a week is enough.
Watch out WJCIV Malcom will get you.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 05:38 AM   #6
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ajasen, you could do most anything you want to do, and find a reason to support it. My best advice, though, is based on where you are in your skating timeline, and in my mind, that happens to be more important than trying to sqeeuze every last second out of your time. I would focus on getting your skating legs back. So, with that in mind, use the upcoming marathon as a field test of how well you can skate 26.2 without compromising your form, and without any question that you can go the distance. That will be a big accomplishment if you can manager that, don't you think?!
What it doesn't do, is to challenge you for any special time goal. Don't worry about that now.
So, the good news is that you get to work on all the proverbial low-hanging fruit: technique mostly, and maybe a bit of endurance/stamina. And of all things to work on, these yield the biggest performance gains by far, for skaters who still have some significant room to improve in these areas.
In a nutshell, as you work to re-gain your skating legs, nothing is more important than just logging miles, with the understanding that you want to make them quality miles by focusing on technique and not developing bad habits.
That's what i'd do.
And for quality, stop when you get tired, rest some, then either resume with fresh legs or call it quits for the day. About once or twice per week, try to up your mileage skated at one time until you can manage 26.2 at one outing. Make sure you allow at least one or two days per week to rest, and go light the last week or so before the marathon.
Have fun and good luck.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 06:38 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the responses. I'm def gonna work on core strength (prolly start doing my Pilates-core video again).

I agree with onlineinline about working for good technique. Skating/finishing 42K isn't a big deal for me (I mean, it's a good, reasonable goal for my current fitness, but it won't be a huge acheivement). My real goal is to get back to my 2008 fitness level in the next two years and match or beat my 100K time. 42K is just a stepping stone. Doing it with good technique seems like the right focus. Thanks for that insight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjvircks View Post
just out of curiosity, ajasen... why did you specifically say SOLO marathon? Do you intend to purposfully not skate with others?

It's a bitch to discover during a race that your particular physiology needs Gu (or large amounts of water, or a salt capsule).
I don't know. It's just a more straightforward goal. If there's a pack in the race that I can skate with, I will, but I guess for this summer, I'm not all that interested in training for the sprint-coast-sprint dynamic of a pack, especially cuz there's no pack around for me to train with!!

As for physiological limits, don't remind me! In '08 I remember bonking when I was training for the 100. I'd planned to do 70 or 80K, and had only water with me. After about 3 hours I must have run out of glycogen. It sucked. I was nauseous, shivering (it wasn't cold), miserable, lonely (there were ppl in the park, but once I hit that limit it felt so lonely... wierd huh?). I kind of stumbled off randomly from the park till I got to the first food place I could find. Happened to be a Sushi restaurant, and boy was I glad they sat me & served me when I was rediculously stinky and wet with sweat. Left 'em a good tip!

The actual race was two weeks later, and it was easy in comparison cuz they gave out bananas on the course and I'd learned my lesson. I ate about 3 or 4 bannanas in that race.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 03:32 AM   #8
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I thought I'd update this and give double (make that triple) thanks to onlineInline! I worked slow technique today, and by the time I started getting tired, I looked at my gps and only 4 miles left to finish a marathon! So I banged those out. My 1st marathon in at least 4 yrs, and pretty much double anything I've skated this year.

The best part was the last 6mi or so I was on autopilot, my cerebellum or whatever doing all the work. Almost out of body. A lot like learning to play guitar and sing at the same time; your body is doing something without you telling it to do it.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 06:05 AM   #9
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ajasen, really glad to hear that things are falling into place!
You are establishing a really solid base of endurance, good mileage, and with solid form. So what next?
I'd say time to spice it up. Do that by mixing in some speed work on some days of the week. There's a couple of ways to go about it, and in a word, they are tempo sessions and interval sessions. Both are good, both will make you stronger and faster in different ways.
You say you are training to do the 42k solo in Sept. and you envision skating the NYC marathon that way becuase you don't want to do the draft/surge dynamic of pack skating.
I've done this race many times, and you don't have to skate it this way at all. Fact is, since it's a rather short loop of about 3 miles, you will have many opportunities to fall in with skaters of most any level you choose. And frankly, the vast majority of these go one pace and try to hold it. And the general attitude most have is that skating together yields mutual benefit, due to drafting and switching off the lead. Often times, with just one other skater, for that matter.
So, don't rule that out. It can really help, even if just for a while.
But most of all, i'd train now to push your envelope in new directions, like some speed focus, and some ability to sustain a high cardio for extended amounts of time (tempo skates are good for that). And keep up the longer endurance skate sessions, too, but not every outing.
Remember, the speed work will help your ability to go the distance, and the endurance work will help you have the stamina to dig down deep for some added speed. The variety builds your entire arsenal of capabilities, and you only get that by having a different focus for different days.
And in your progression, it sounds like you have upped your mileage nicely, so now the challenge is to not go 'flat' by overdoing one type of workout.
Right in line with this, don't forget that NYC has a formidable hill to deal with - get used to very high cardio efforts every lap, and get used to really high speeds on the descent. Trust me on that one.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 06:31 AM   #10
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I find that when training, if I have not yet reached at least a certain amount tiredness, my bad habits consistently override my ability to zone in on that auto-pilot feeling of naturally good technique.

In my case I tend to skate (quads) with too much weight on my front wheels, not having my ankles bent enough, and not sitting low - keeping my butt down, instead bending too much at the lower back, pushing too fast a cadence of too short strokes with less than max. power in them.

Once certain muscles tire out and others stretch out, I seem more capable of finding my sweet spot of form. Once I hit this stage, I try to stay in this zone as long as I can, but because initial tiredness is the ticket for entry, it often does not last as long as I would like before tiring further begins to erode my form.

As a result of this pattern, I try to structure my workouts in a way that has them bring me quickly to this initial stage of feeling tired. That could mean my doing one or two miles at a speed faster than my goal for a race, and then slowing, but continuing at a steady decent pace.

The idea being to have a short period of high intensity near the start (after brief warmup) of every workout ti quicky reach the early stage of muscle tiredness feelings. This way, I seem to be able to spend more of my total workout time actually skating with good technique, and once I enter this good form stage, I concentrate on experiencing all the aspects of what make it be good form, trying to lock these in at a "muscle memory" level.

For me this approach has consistently yielded both rapid improvement of sustainable speed, and steadily improving endurance. I wish I could say that I can now arrive a peak form much sooner after starting to skate, but it still seems that this never happens until about 5-7 miles into a workout (or race).

However, I can say that once is finally do settle into peak form, I am able to be rolling a faster pace and I can hold that form for longer periods than ever before.

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