Small Steps

Some mixed results for this mid-season update.  The pudge-o-meter is under serious attack!  I’ve dropped 20lbs and it looks like I’ll be under 175lbs by Chicago (end of July). Actually I’m hoping for 170lbs by then but it will be tough.   Trying to drop weight and build strength for speed is not really a combination that works well together.  For now I’m doing what I can to manage the compromise but give priority to dropping weight.     Come backs are hard, and this one is no exception :(

As the season has progressed, not only have I managed to drop weight, despite my Coca-Cola loving ways, and my penchant for potato chips.  But despite the great progress, I’m still not where I was last year, but I’m now hopeful for some late season success.  Some good results at Defi or A2A would be cool.    New York is a possibility, will have to find a ride though :)

To give you a sense of the progress so far, this graph shows my 10k time trial times against my weight, and mileage in training:

The scale on the left is the total kilometers skated since April 1st, and the red line shows the accumulated mileage. The scale on the right is Kph, and shows the average speed over a 10k time trial (the sea green line). Essentially my speed up has gone from an average speed of 24kph to 32.7kph. I’m hopeful that my 10k time trial time will get into the 34′s in august. At that point will consider myself in pretty good shape.

My best ever 10k with a pack (actual race), on perfect pavement with a downhill course, 16m 17s (2008 Ottawa Festival), which is an average speed of 36.8Kph. But that was with better pavement, a pack, and not having to dodge cyclists, tar snakes, or slow down to make two turns. If I can get above 34Kph for the venue I train in, I’ll be very happy.

If you want to see what one of these time trials looks like, with heart rate, take a look at this graph:

The red line is heart rate and it goes from 150bpm on the left, to the peak on the right which maxes out at 184bpm.  Fun fact; at 184bpm, my breakfast starts thinking about seeing the light of day again.  My time trials are done on a parkway with good pavement, not excellent, but pretty good.  The center  line has tar snakes all the way, and you have to get around cyclists and such, so there is a lot of speed variation due to just trying to avoid “railing” the center line tar snake.   The parkway that is closed off on Sundays is 3km and change, so to make 10k I have to slow, and do a 180 twice (it a point to point venue).   You can clearly see these turns where the speed drops off to 10-15Kph.

The fun doesn’t end there though. :) Through the summer I’ve been doing other workouts.  In general trying to mix things up and not get worn out on training (mentally).    My  priority is drop weight and get back into shape, but my other priority is be ready to support my team mates (Schankel Canada) at races.  My role on the team is support; work for the sprinters, bridge gaps, get our sprinters to the last 500m with fresh legs.

To that end, a lot of my training is focused on high pace, and being able to recover from attacks.  One workout that’s been a big focus is just taking 5km and repeating 4times, trying to skate it as fast as I possibly can, with a couple of sprints thrown in.   Here is what one of these bad boys looks like:

These sessions are done on city paths, where the pavement quality is anywhere from bad to good.  The main limitation is that you have to slow down for a couple of intersections that are not lit or signed, so cars can go sailing through at any time.  On top of that you have to dodge cyclists, walkers, rec skaters, dogs, gnats, squirrels, ducks, geese, and poo, lots of poo (mostly from the aforementioned ducks and geese).

Still though this and other workouts can be satisfying, I do wish we had some kind of track to work with, I’m sure I could push the pace a lot higher.  We do have a 400m track across the river, but getting there is 40min bike ride, and you never know if its in use or not by the school kids/soccer league, and its not exactly in top shape (rough patches of pavement and more than its share of sand on the corners).

One other workout worth mentioning; hill repeats.  I’ve been working this one through the summer to try and make sure I don’t drop off completely on hill climbing.  Basically I skate out to a hill on the other side of the river that gives me a about 500m of climb and I think it rises maybe 15m, so not a killer hill, but when sprinting up it, it will give a decent work out:

So, overall the training is going well. I’ve lost 20 of the 30lbs I need to lose, my speed has gone way up, average cruising speed is much higher, and my sprints are snappier, although I can always improve on the sprints. I’m feeling good, and look forward to being properly back in the groove sometime in August.

If things go really well, I’ll be in great shape for Chicago (end of the month). Not sure I can lose another 10lbs by then, but I’ll try. Even if I do, its a mixed success; dropping that much that quickly would likely burn muscle and fat…which ultimately slows you down. But then again, as a skater we fight friction, and weight leads to friction, so less weight is always a good thing.

I wish my progress was faster, but I have only myself to blame for slacking off last winter so badly. Blame isn’t the right word, but whatever the cause, the result is the same, I had (and have) a lot of pudge to work through, but I’m on course and determined to get there :)


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Software Engineer and Inline Speedskater
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