Burn Baby Burn

Muffin top. Don’t want it, didn’t ask for it, but I’ve got it, and now its the gift that keeps on giving! Over the winter I gained 30+lbs. I’ve been training hard since April to get back into racing shape, and I’m making great progress, but catching up from such a huge handicap is no easy task. Still though things are improving.

The most obvious improvement is just feeling good on my skates again, but more than that I’ve found my form again and started to tweak and improve it over last year. Although I’m trying not to get too obsessive about the numbers, its important to recognize where you’re really at (I think). From that standpoint the numbers are good objective indicator. Kind of like hill skating, you can’t cheat the hill, your favorite big hill will never lie to you :)

At the moment my numbers are improving; my body fat percentage has dropped from 34% to 26%. My raw weight is down 10lbs to 190lbs, but I haven’t been able to get into the 180′s. I’m expecting this to happen now by July…unfortunately it just takes time. I’m trying to be careful to not starve myself and hence not build the muscle, or likewise burn off muscle and fat…the muffin top is the only thing I want to loose :)

Other numbers are improving as well. My 10K time trials have improved a lot (see graph below). While the improvement is great, there is still work to do. A decently respectable 10K (for me) would be around 17:30, I’ve done it before, so I know its in me…just have to dig harder for it. Once I can get back to that level of performance, I’ll consider myself back in shape. For now its going to be all about choking down more intervals, hill repeats and core conditioning.

One other “big” number is that my cumulative mileage on skates so far is about 1,400km since April 1st.  To put that into perspective, its about 175Km  a week.

This year I’m really trying hard to do my maintenance training as well though;  plyos and core conditioning and I’ve been doing running and even did my first running race.  It was only an 8K run, but it was gratifying to have a running race not completely floor me.  I was running it just to try it out, and didn’t suffer, but could have ran a lot faster, with a matching higher degree of suffering ;)   I’m not planning on becoming a runner, but it would be cool to build up to doing a half marathon.  Beyond that…who knows!

I’m also now considering getting back on my bike (well after buying a new one).  Its been years since I trained hard on a bike, and I think it might be time to hit that again.  Just to keep things fresh and not get tired of the same training all the time.  We have some great hills here in Ottawa for cycling so I’m sure it would really help with my power and cardio.

While my progress isn’t as immediately gratifying as I would like, things are trending better and better.   Chasing bikes is a lot easier now, and my cardio is back, I’ve already done an 80K session with plans for much longer calorie burners.  I’m now planning to team up with Ed Leung at 24hrs to skate as a Duo Team (no team name yet).  Basically we’ll be trying to skate as much as we can in 24hrs.  I’ve never done a solo or duo, so I’m not sure how I’ll do, but I imagine I’ll burn more than a few calories.

I’ve done races like Defi and A2A so I know what kind of mental game is involved.  You might think going a slower pace is just a matter of grinding it out.  But after the first two hours, its a whole different story.  There are a multitude of kinds of pain you can be beset with.  That’s when mental toughness becomes the determining factor.  Even in a normal 42k marathon, sometimes the outcome is decided just by who can stomach the most suffering.  At any rate, I’m really looking forward to trying my first duo effort at 24hrs.

In related news, our team (Schankel Canada) has set its strategy for the coming months and we’re now focused on training towards that.  I’ll be doing my first training session with that focus after I complete this posting :)   Our new skinsuits haven’t arrived yet so I’ll be skating Nappa in my club skinsuit.

Some of the fine selections on my suffering menu as of late:

  • 1000′s – basically 1min on max effort and and 1min off.  A set of six reps usually puts me in the hurt locker.  I’m planning to start doing two sets with a break in between.
  • 10/30 workout – this workout is a race simulation, its kind of hard to wrap your head around and I use my Garmin to get me through it.
  • 500m hill repeats – sprint up, coast down, rinse and repeat. I’m up to 12 repeats, and plan to work my way up to 20.  There is a certain race with 19 hill climbs that I want to do at the end of the season :)
  • 10k TT – these time trials are basically how I’m grading my performance.  It gives a solid indicator of where I’m at in terms of race pace.

Although I’ve done a lot of distance, its been mainly to get back into the groove.  I’m feeling good on my skates again, if not as fast as I want to be, and now I’m moving into much more speed work.  My training sessions will now be pretty much 30K or less and focused intensity, higher heart rate,  and reaching fatigue rather than just burning  calories.

As the say, train like race, race like you train, so now its going to be much more about race simulation.

My next race is Nappa, and while I’m really looking forward to doing this for the first time, I suspect I’m still too far behind in training to come away super happy from this race.  But, I am now very hopeful that my July race in Chicago (July 25th) will see me fully back in the groove.  Fingers crossed!

Ok, time to shut up and skate! …will post when I’m back from Nappa.


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Software Engineer and Inline Speedskater
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