Why anaerobic conditioning?

Accolades: Two weeks ago David traveled to Lake Placid to represent Taconic Speedskating at the Empire State Games. After a hearty weekend of racing and a few rough and tumble moments. David fought his way to the top, earning a Gold in the 500, a Bronze in the 1000 and a Silver in the 1500. Congratulations David!

Other skaters known to the club that also did well? Carol and Jen both brought home some hardware as well.

Skater of the week:

Mark Geller for his outstanding enthusiasm for the workout as well his help with management of the session in my absence. Nice job Mark!

Training notes: Why do we engage in anaerobic conditioning? 

Anaerobic conditioning is training that helps an athlete develop the ability to keep explosive speed late in the race. If you take a look at the USS calendar you will notice that the short track schedule has the tendency to follow the following this pattern year after year: Sept- Nov., Late Jan- March. If you look at the ISU calendar to see what the international community does, you will see a similar pattern. Your first thought might be to consider the World Cup circuit and the availability of venues but if you delve deeper you will realize that the schedule is set the way it is to accommodate the training cycle. If you have kept to our traditional season training cycle (May- March) then you would come to understand that things happen in 4-6 week chunks. There is a period of aerobic training, a period of maximizing strength, a period of developing power/speed, followed by a period of competition and short rest then working the rest of the season maintaining the top of that pyramid (strength and speed) If you think of your training like an expedition up Mt. Everest with May-September being the time you spend acclimating and conditioning for the climb at base camp followed by pitches up the mountain in September so that from October to March you can concentrate on going back and forth between the highest camp and the top several times. There may be periods of rest where you go half way down, (Dec- Late Jan) but then you really push for that summit the at the end (March).  The reason you want that period of rest where you go half way down the mountain? So that you can be at your best when you summit it that last, most important time.

Our season is set up so that we can have several peaks during the season and because of this aerobic conditioning will be included multiple times during the season. Each undertaking will look different depending on the demand of the competitions. Generally for ST there will be (2) 4-6 wk cycles during the fall leading up to competition with a one 4-6 wk rest cycle before repeating it to go for that peak again.

Speedskating in general is considered a single effort sport. For all intensive purposes though, short track could almost be considered a repeat sprint sport, meaning that there are periods of both rest and work within a race though the race period is a short duration. Anaerobic training helps to ensure that the work periods are not met with a sudden loss of steam. It helps in maintaining effort when you are tired. For training to be effective it should be specific by mimicking the work period that would be required in competition. A great podcast that speaks to this can be found on the US Strength and Conditioning web-page. Click here to check it out.


getting to the core

Skater of the week: Victor

This is Victor’s third season skating with Taconic Speedskating. He is our most dedicated club-member. When his mom asked him if he wanted to help bake some treats for the club, he immediately wanted to know how much to charge for them so he could continue to help fundraise for the club.(Maybe we should hire him as our CFO?)

We will update the photo of Victor with a headshot when he is finished pushing around the big guy!

Victor has made some tremendous gains on the track as well. Both his technique and speed are coming together this season. WATCH OUT APOLO!

Notes from this week’s practice session:

I have learned more about teaching ceramics from analyzing speedskating than I have from watching any master potter. Throwing a large pot on the potters wheel involves controlling the same forces as skating around the 111M track. Engaging the large muscles is worthy of a closer look when you think about the physics of all of it. Try this:

  • Place a 5lb bag of potatoes on a table at waist height. Now, try to pick it up using each of the example below
  1. using a fully extended arm lift it from the table just engaging the wrist and the fingers
  2. using a bent arm lift engaging just your arm muscles
  3. using a bent arm close to your body and lift by engaging your core first then the muscles of your arm
What did you notice? The larger the muscle engagement the easier it was to pick up the bag of potatoes wasn’t it?
Check out this you-tube video about the science of short-track from WNBC during the 2010 games

This week we worked on several things that emphasized engaging your core and keeping your hips under you so that you can drive off of the pushing leg at a point where there is the least amount of resistance to engage the greatest amount of force . We essentially also attempted apply the theory that an object in motion will stay in motion by trying to  maintain the speed you gained with a simple weight transfer. In a nut shell, it was a formidable laundry list.

I encourage you to look at the following resources below:

Skating with your core and the mechanics of how that is done can are addressed here in two separate articles on Sue Ellis’s website. If you haven’t checked out her skater tips, you should make it a practice.

Physics of the Circle as it applies to athletics

and this one too

The Physics of Skating

A question about skating on the edge vs.flat of the blade came up- I am working on a more in depth answer and should have it by the next practice.

See you Wed!