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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 January 9th, 2007, 09:22 PM   #1
Mark
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Default Increasing overall skating speed

Is there any particular technique to use to help increase overall speed, or is it more a by-product of continuous training?
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Old January 9th, 2007, 09:27 PM   #2
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Getting better technique is always necessary. The other thing you need to do is to incorporate interval training into your workout. If you train at a constant pace you will stay at that constant pace. Plyometrics don't hurt either.

If you have not picked up Barry Publow's book, I'd highly recommend that you do so.

If you have speed teams in your area (indoor or outdoor) I'd recommend that you contact them. (d'oh I just looked at where you are and yes, there are speed teams and there is a large Florida contingent on this board).
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Old January 9th, 2007, 10:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark View Post
... or is it more a by-product of continuous training?
It's a by-product of continuously training the right thing at the right time. A lot of articles and threads have been written about it. But of course continous training in the sense that you need to build a base of endurance, technique, power, flexibility, body feeling etc. to be fast is needed, too.
My totally non-scientific approach, which cannot be found this clear in the books:

There is no speed without fun.

Translation: If you have no fun in working hard and investing the time (i.e. de-investing it from other things/activities/persons) for receiving a higher speed, than there is no sense in trying to become faster.
Apart from this selfmade pseudo-philosophical approach, the best way to become faster is to look for and find a good trainer, who finds out where you can improve the most and knows the tricks how.
My advice therefore: Don't go for books, go for people.

Speedy regards
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Old January 10th, 2007, 01:23 AM   #4
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Default speed for what?

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Is there any particular technique to use to help increase overall speed
There's lots of techniques and strategies for speed. (one is "Always skate downhill")

Which ones are best for you depends on what your goals are, what your history is, what your body is, and what your mind is.

How about start with Goals . . . here's some ideas:
  • go fast in this race coming up in April.
  • go faster than this guy I see on the bicycle path every Saturday.
  • not get dropped by the group when we go up a hill.
  • just so I know how I can "turn up the speed" when I want to.

Ken
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Old January 10th, 2007, 05:00 AM   #5
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Mark, this is a big topic. Let's give it a name: "Speed skating".

you ask how to increase overall speed. I think everyone infers you mean how to increase your pace as opposed to your endurance. Becuase if you're asking how to shave a minute or two or ten off your marathon time, the answer is very different.

A lot will depend on where you are in your develpment. First thing to look at is your form and technique. Then your conditioning could help. Also euqipment. It all depends where you are on this road.

Without making a lot of lucky guesses about where you are and what you're after, everything comes into play in increasing your overall speed. You should be also increasing your stamina, your strength, your technique, selecting equipment that will maximize your progress and your strengths and your ability to achieve your aim. By doing all these things together, you will increase your speed, as well as other things.

I know how i stretch my envelope in the area of faster speeds, but it is part of a very regimented program that is also stretching the other areas i have already mentioned. And i would be amiss to say that my strategy a year ago was the same as it is now, becuase where you are in your development of a skater should very much change what your focus is at any given time.

I bet this isn't the answer you wanted to hear. Maybe someone else will stumble onto it for you. LOL.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 04:40 PM   #6
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Translated in english;

Better equipment = speed
Improve physical condition = speed
Increase muscle = speed
Work on your stroke = speed

Dedication, Work, and Time, and you will see results.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 12:06 AM   #7
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So basicly, when Jessica gets back on the road, try to keep up with her when she puts it in high gear . That and I am sure i need to work on my technique. Right now I am still in a fitness style skate , have not researched much yet about buying speed skates. I do all of my skating outdoors. Thanks for the info.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 06:37 AM   #8
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yes, skating with more experienced skaters and trying to keep up will yield you results. Ask for advice and gleen what you can from their technique.

based on your response, i'd recommend that your goal may also be to skate more efficiently, or skate with better form, in addition to just skating faster. There's many ways to skate faster that yield results for a short time but will soon tire you out and develop bad habits that will ultimately hurt you.

One goal i had early on was to be able to skate a marathon more pain-free. In retrospect, i can't believe what a good goal this was. I was acknoledging to myself that i could actually deliver a not all together bad marathon time, but i was having to go through excrutianting efforts and pain to do so. So, within a week of stating this goal to myself, i resolved to complete three tasks:
1) take a lesson(s) from an elite speed skater
2) work on core strength and conditioning to alleviate back issues
3) improve my technique so i could sustain my efforts longer.
And i can tell you that this strategy worked wonderfully.

So, as an answer, yes it is a by-product of overall training. And it is the result of some particular technique, to use your words. The particular technique would be intervals. But let me first say that intervals should be part of an overall training strategy that also includes endurance training, technique drills, etc. It is not done to the exclusion of these other things, but as part of the whole program.

Intervals in its simplest form are just very high intensity skating for a given duration. The duration may be based on a distance, a time, or at achieving a set heart rate zone. A timed interval workout in its simplest form that my skate partners and i sometimes do is just 30 seconds of sprint, followed by 2 minutes of slow skating recovery, and repeat. Do say 5 to ten of these as part of your workout.

This is just one aspect of a training program. But it;s focus is in increasing your high end speed and/'or your anearobic threshhold. if done incorrectly, it can make you slower ultimately, so i don't think it should be done to the exclusion of other, more important things like learning good technique in sprinting, for example.

There are parts of a complete training program that are geared to increasing overall speed. They won't really yield the desired results unless your doing the rest of the program, though. That's about as clear as i can make it.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 02:07 PM   #9
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Yes the single most effective step is to take an outdoor lesson from a speedskating coach. (the problem with indoors is that speed indoors inevitably gets involved with cross-overs).

If you haven't had any serious speed technique work before, then there's probably some big easy (and fun) gains to be had from working on that.

Intervals: Yes, if you haven't done them before there are some big easy (not fun) short-term gains. Since your goal is "keeping up", rather than pack-racing sprints, you likely want to focus more on longer intervals, like a pace you can keep up for a 20-30 minute personal time-trial, which is around your "threshold" of sustainable aerobic power (rather than your short-term max power for less than 5 minutes). Lance Armstrong's coach said that his training focused lots on "threshold" work.

Technique: No explanation in words can substitute for face-to-face lessons and/or skating behind another good skater. But here's some hints about where the big gains come from:
  • Most people instinctively assume that skating is sorta like running only with the push aimed more diagonally.
  • Actually skates have the magical ability to transmute pushing out sideways into forward-motion power. So a key step is to learn what that feels like.
  • The true test of the "magic" is to feel like you're "slicing" the skate forward as you push, but that push is somehow also moving you forward.
  • The next key is to set down the skate much closer in underneath the hip, out start the sideways push outward from there -- which requires another new kind of balance and feel.
  • Pushing from underneath requires engaging a whole other set of muscles on the outside of the leg -- non-intuitive muscles that aren't used much in running or bicycling.
So the theory behind the big speed gain thru technique: Engage more muscles to help push, and use them to push thru a longer distance.

Ken
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Old January 14th, 2007, 04:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Is there any particular technique to use to help increase overall speed, or is it more a by-product of continuous training?
Hey Mark,
Iím guessing by your location that you are the same Mark that joined us on the last group skate at the Withlacoochee State trail. If so, I believe we are fairly close to the same level of skating. As we look for ways to improve our technique and ultimate speed, I think one of the most important things to focus on is form. I have to frequently remind myself to stay down, keep the knees bent to allow for a better push and power transfer. After holding the form for several miles, I revert to the stand up skating position as I begin to tire and lose the full push and speed. This sounds so obvious, but I think itís what many of us mid-level skaters struggle with. I used to skate ~ twice a week and realized that alone wasnít going to cut it. Since the weather permits it, Iíve tried to get out for a few extra after work skates to improve the stamina. Iíve also started indoor sessions to help improve technique and basically spend more time on the skates. So far Iíve been to ~ 4 and plan to keep going as the schedule permits.

Every Sunday @ 8AM a group from this speed team and others do the Suncoast trail Ė park at Rt. 54 and turn around at Rt. 52 ~ 20 miles total. I went today for the first time and had a blast. Feel free to join the group Ė and this includes any interested locals. Iím sure you'll gain some experience from these outings.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 04:24 PM   #11
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Dennis - which team? Emerald Coast?
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Old January 14th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #12
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Dennis - which team? Emerald Coast?
We skate at SpinNations on Congress St, Port Richey - coach Steve Pyles. The floor is very nice & large. I believe the team is Paramount, but I've seen several team suits from F.A.S.T. and Stardust - probably just visiting. The group is very supportive and encouraging to me as a newbee to indoor skating.

Glad to see you're fingers are in good working order. It won't be long till we see you back on the trails, but don't rush it. Once you get that cast off and feel up to it, give me a shout.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 08:46 PM   #13
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Yes Dennis, it me. Thinking about it, another part of my question I should of origionally asked, what is a good overall average speed for someone just out skating for fitness? Right now I figure I am probably averaging around 12-13mph solo. I will try to make it up there next sunday for the skate.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 09:40 PM   #14
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We skate at SpinNations on Congress St, Port Richey - coach Steve Pyles. The floor is very nice & large. I believe the team is Paramount, but I've seen several team suits from F.A.S.T. and Stardust - probably just visiting. The group is very supportive and encouraging to me as a newbee to indoor skating.

Glad to see you're fingers are in good working order. It won't be long till we see you back on the trails, but don't rush it. Once you get that cast off and feel up to it, give me a shout.
Yup, I did indoor with Steve - tell him I said hi I'll have to come out with you all next month.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 12:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Yes Dennis, it me. Thinking about it, another part of my question I should of origionally asked, what is a good overall average speed for someone just out skating for fitness? Right now I figure I am probably averaging around 12-13mph solo. I will try to make it up there next sunday for the skate.
Mark - until you get some replies, scan through the training log thread to view some of the posts that list time/distances/etc. Jon B. would often include his current setup which helps to get a benchmark. I'd suspect some of the more elite skaters are averaging 20-25mph solo, but they are way too modest to share their times with us.

I'm averaging about 14-15mph (solo) now that I've been in the speed skates for a few months and continue to feel some improvement. Part of my problem is the pattern of stopping around 5-6 miles for a water break. My wife (on her bike) and I have points where we break and its tough to break the pattern, especially on a hot day. See you soon.

Jessica: great to see you back on the bike. I knew there was no holding you down.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 03:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Yes Dennis, it me. Thinking about it, another part of my question I should of origionally asked, what is a good overall average speed for someone just out skating for fitness? Right now I figure I am probably averaging around 12-13mph solo. I will try to make it up there next sunday for the skate.
there's no good speed. Or better yet, there's no bad speed. It trully is dependent on the terrain, your level of experience, your gear, distance skated, etc. That's not what you want to hear.

So let's talk the range - begineers get on here and talk about 8 MPH. 15MPH seems to be a benchmark, with a lot of fitness/sped skaters just below and a fair number at 15-18. Skating in excess of 18MPH on average for at least a mile or two at a time is a good cruise speed for a competetive speed skater. Twenty MPH is in the range of good race pace, and the elite skaters can often cruise at about 22 or 23 MPH with the help of drafting, with speeds of 25MPH clocked by winners of marathons.

If someone said i clocked XMPH on my GPS, take it with a grain of salt, becuase it may be inaccurate and it may be that they hit that speed only for a brief few seconds. I am talking average speeds clocked on a stopwatch.

That's what you probably want to hear, but what you need to know is that speeds matter most of all in relation to your training and progress. Terrains are never the same, breezes change, temp. changes, etc., so i would encourage you to periodically time yourself and work to improve your skating abilities so that your time improves as well. Measure time against yours previous times. I do this constantly. But i have a training program focused on building the tools, strength, physical reserves, technique, mental fortitude, top end speed, endurance, and confidence to make that happen. So even a day in which i painstakingly do hundreds of crunches, or sweat it out on the stationary bike in the gym, or due long steady distance (LSD), are days i am excited becuase i know i am loading up the scales in my favor to improve my speed, when i have the chance to test it next. You might ask if i'm trying to skate faster, or improve my skating overall, or skate more efficiently, or place better in races.... I don't know. I tend to think they are the same thing.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 07:58 PM   #17
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O/I,
Thanks for the good feedback. We knew we could count on you.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 09:53 PM   #18
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Thanks. Heading out the door right now to work on increasing overall speed.
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Old June 12th, 2007, 01:23 AM   #19
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I always skate solo outdoors and seem stuck at the 12-14 range with wind being the biggest variable. I go my overall elapsed time over the known distances for my different tracks and don't subtract waiting at stoplights. My terrain is always the same in South Florida - there is a slight rise in the middle of my skate so the elevation changes from 8 feet above sea level to 9 feet, but I hardly notice it :-).

I've never had any lessons but have watched some folks at Disney and the Publix races. I get the feeling I am plodding instead of gliding when comparing myself to the other racers. I have started doing some interval training - fifty hard - twenty easy - fifty hard -just to see if it helps.

Next Publix race is in July, so that will be a good time to see if it helps. My goal is 25 minutes.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 02:53 PM   #20
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This is the sort of thread that could run forever and ever

Increasing speed is mainly about increasing efficiency, which means working on technique. Then fitness comes into play, then thirdly equipment.
The "fastest" skaters are those with the most efficient stride who waste the least energy when skating, enabling them to go faster than a less efficient skater for the same energy output, or maintain the same speed while requiring less work input.

The best thing you can do for improving your speed is to practice drills. Concentrate on just one thing at a time. eg, focussing on heel carve, bringing your knees together, D-shaped recovery, minimal upper body movement, pushing through your 3rd wheel, etc.

Practice at a speed that you can comfortably maintain - the idea is to train your neuromuscular system, not your cardiovascular system, so be as precise with each stride as you can. Just about every skater wants to be able to skate faster, not just those with speedskates and lycra.

I am not a speedskater. I am not particularly fast compared to some skaters I know, but I do try work on these sort of things which I think help not only my efficiency, but my overall skating as well.
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