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Speed Skating Forum Most of the discussions in this forum will be about inline speed skating but discussions about ice speed skating and quad roller speed skating are also welcome.

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Old August 19th, 2014, 10:07 AM   #1
evilzzz
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Default Improving Aerobic Efficiency - The case for low Heart Rate Zone training

Debates about training intensity vs volume are nothing new and divides opinion in the world of endurance sport as much as any other topic.

One school of thought says that the key to getting faster is to improve the aerobic system, which means high mileage at a purposefully low intensity; the opposition to this says that training slow only teaches you to race slow, and that in order to race fast you must build intensity.

Which is right? FWIW, my given my experience in the 9 months I must say that I now fall firmly in the first camp - the key to speed lies overwhelming in developing your aerobic system; this means high volume training at a low intensity as measured by your heart rate. Similar to runners and many other endurance disciplines, many speed skaters often have a shockingly under-developed aerobic system because they do not do enough truely low intensity aerobic work. I now know that this was certainly the case for me, and as I have revamped my training to address it I have seem great improvement. Over the last year my heart rate monitor has proven to be an essential training aid, and I never train without it now.

Since this year started, I have done 95% of my skating purposefully at low intensity zone 2/MAF zone intensity. I can quantify my skating efficiency if I look back at my Garmin/Strava traces.

Here is my n=1 example of how my skating has developed with this approach. These are 3 workouts from February, May, and August this year, so 6 months' worth of progress. These were all recorded around 7 loops of a 2.9km circuit (Battersea park in London).


**********
Exhibit A
**********
04/02/2014
Lap Distance Pace/km HR
1 1.6*km 03:33 141
2 1.6*km 03:24 146
3 1.6*km 03:34 145
4 1.6*km 03:31 145
5 1.6*km 03:27 147
6 1.6*km 03:08 151
7 1.6*km 03:36 138
8 1.6*km 03:33 143
9 1.6*km 03:30 143
10 1.6*km 03:39 145
11 1.6*km 03:15 143
12 1.6*km 03:38 141
13 1.6*km 03:29 145
14 1.6*km 03:28 140


Summary
-----------
Average pace: 03:28
StandardDev pace (00:08)

Avg HR: 143.8
StandardDev HR: 3.14



**********
Exhibit B
**********

06/05/2014
Lap Distance Pace/km HR
1 1.0 km 03:23 133
2 1.0 km 02:52 142
3 1.0 km 03:08 146
4 1.0 km 02:55 145
5 1.0 km 03:02 141
6 1.0 km 03:13 143
7 1.0 km 03:10 140
8 1.0 km 03:00 139
9 1.0 km 03:57 135
10 1.0 km 03:07 140
11 1.0 km 02:57 138
12 1.0 km 03:09 145
13 1.0 km 03:00 142
14 1.0 km 03:04 143
15 1.0 km 03:14 141
16 1.0 km 03:06 140
17 1.0 km 03:12 140
18 1.0 km 03:04 144
19 1.0 km 02:55 143
20 1.0 km 03:03 144
21 1.0 km 03:20 138


Summary:
------------
Average pace: 03:08
StandardDev pace: 00:13

Average HR: 141.05
StandardDev HR: 3.2




**********
Exhibit C
**********

17/08/2014
Lap Distance Pace/km HR
1 1.0 km 03:01 136
2 1.0 km 02:51 134
3 1.0 km 03:01 138
4 1.0 km 02:54 136
5 1.0 km 02:46 136
6 1.0 km 03:07 140
7 1.0 km 02:43 137
8 1.0 km 02:42 136
9 1.0 km 03:02 142
10 1.0 km 02:47 141
11 1.0 km 02:44 141
12 1.0 km 02:55 144
13 1.0 km 02:38 143
14 1.0 km 02:46 142
15 1.0 km 02:57 144
16 1.0 km 02:40 141
17 1.0 km 02:52 143
18 1.0 km 02:58 143
19 1.0 km 02:37 142
20 1.0 km 02:59 141
21 1.0 km 02:38 143


Summary:
------------
Average pace: 02:50
StandardDev pace: 00:08


Average HR: 140.14
StandardDev HR: 3.06


************

So summarizing, by training aerobically, in 6 months I have gone from a 3:28/km pace down to a 2:50/km pace, or a 2:26hr marathon down to a 1:59hr marathon for the same (or even slightly less - 144bpm vs 140bpm) workload as my aerobic function has improved. If we use a car analogy, I have increased the volume of my engine, so to speak.. I haven't even touched the turbo yet (the anaerobic system).


In summary, it's no secret that in order to skate faster you must get lower, skate with better weight transfer, push to the side, etc etc, but you can't actually put those things into practice for any sustained length of time without having developed the aerobic system to handle it.

You can skate faster by skating harder and working anaerobically, but gains in this way will plateau faster than if you purposefully skate slower and allow your body to adapt aerobically.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 11:09 AM   #2
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The story and training methods of 6-time Ironman world champion Mark Allen are well document and often cited as a classic example of how aerobic training works.

Allen was a student of Phil Maffetone, whose prescribed him a strict heart rate zone cap for the majority of his training. Under this golden rule Allen was dilligent and disciplined enough able to improve his aerobic efficiency by staggering amounts to eventually succeed at his goals.

http://duathlon.com/articles/1460/

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Phil said that I was doing too much anaerobic training, too much speed work, too many high end/high heart rate sessions. I was forcing my body into a chemistry that only burns carbohydrates for fuel by elevating my heart rate so high each time I went out and ran.

So he told me to go to the track, strap on the heart rate monitor, and keep my heart rate below 155 beats per minute. Maffetone told me that below this number that my body would be able to take in enough oxygen to burn fat as the main source of fuel for my muscle to move. I was going to develop my aerobic/fat burning system. What I discovered was a shock.

To keep my heart rate below 155 beats/minute, I had to slow my pace down to an 8:15 mile. Thatís three minutes/mile SLOWER than I had been trying to hit in every single workout I did! My body just couldnít utilize fat for fuel.

So, for the next four months, I did exclusively aerobic training keeping my heart rate at or below my maximum aerobic heart rate, using the monitor every single workout. And at the end of that period, my pace at the same heart rate of 155 beats/minute had improved by over a minute. And after nearly a year of doing mostly aerobic training, which by the way was much more comfortable and less taxing than the anaerobic style that I was used to, my pace at 155 beats/minute had improved to a blistering 5:20 mile.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 01:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting this. I think this might be the missing piece of my training puzzle. I do strength training twice a week and skate 4 days a week, but it is all hard skating with hills and intervals, and I don't have a heart rate monitor.

At the beginning of the skating season, my skating was mostly slow to moderate pace just to get the skating muscles back in shape. Not a lot of hard skates, intervals, or hills -- mostly just 60-90 minutes of low to moderate intensity skating. My first race was Apostle Islands, and I felt amazing in that race -- never once felt like I was going to get dropped, never close to redlining. My first top 10 finish.

After Apostle, our training skates began to focus more on going as fast and hard as we could. That's what a race is, right? So why wouldn't that work.

Fast forward to the rest of the year:

In my last three races, I have felt DEAD after just 5 or 6 miles. Heart rate through the roof, muscles clenched up, can't catch my breath...I feel like I am in WORSE shape after training hard 6 days a week all summer, than I was at the beginning of the year with far "less intense" training.

I think this article may have hit the nail on the head -- perhaps my aerobic system is underdeveloped, so I'm jumping straight into anaerobic as soon as the pace goes up or someone attacks, and I can't recover. My body has become more inefficient as the season has gone on.

I'm definitely going to add heart rate training to my training regimen over the winter and into next season.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 02:01 PM   #4
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To be honest with you, some of the stuff in the article is "too focused" or "complex" for me to really get my arms around. For instance, I understand the content, but I just don't overthink my training to that level. Maybe I should.

For me personally, when I look at the guys / girls who consistently do well at races, I find one common denominator - they all train very hard. Most of them push it day in and day out. With that being said, they don't always skate. There is a lot of strength training, cycling, and even plyos mixed in.

I try to do a variety...I do a mix of interval training, sprints, hill sprints, technique skates, and long slow skates. I don't really go through sections of the season and say this is my "cardio building section" and then this is my "speed building section." I try to slowly build on all of it as the year goes on.

Again though, I'm not an expert. I think my training has gaps. But, I see a lot of the local skaters (where I live) who are severely undertrained. From what I see, they do a lot of long, slower skates, and simply aren't used to skating at higher speeds.

Every year that goes by, I try to tweak the way I train. And, I still find I make a lot of the same mistakes from year to year. It's very hard to know where to make changes. I have found that I have to be very careful not to wear my body down physically and mentally before Duluth. I usually feel great in the spring, early summer, and then start to feel awful in September. We only have a few more weeks left and I'm trying to keep a careful eye on making sure I don't burn up before the season ends.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 02:16 PM   #5
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I feel like I am in WORSE shape after training hard 6 days a week all summer, than I was at the beginning of the year with far "less intense" training.
How are you getting a proper rest period training intervals and hills hard 6 days a week? If your muscles don't have time to rebuild themselves you are just breaking them down more and more.

I do think that this lower intensity workout is very important. You need to mix it in with your other training. Since you are working the aerobic capacity instead of the muscles, you can actually do this on recovery days. I remember seeing an article once that elite cyclists spend about 3 hours a day riding on their "days off". So if you train 6 days a week, I would take 2-3 hard to develop the muscles and 3-4 at a lower intensity to work the aerobic capacity. That's pretty close to what I did in training for Nationals this year.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 02:54 PM   #6
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Just to clarify (because my wording was bad), I'm skating 3-4 days a week, and weight training 2 days a week. So it's not all skating.

I always give myself plenty of rest the week leading up to the race, usually skating once earlier in the week and maybe going for a short ride on the bike and doing some stretching and mobility.

I've noticed that some of my strongest training skates have come the morning right after doing an intense gym session the night before, even though my muscles are sore. Maybe this is silly, but could I be giving myself too much rest during race weeks?
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Old August 19th, 2014, 03:06 PM   #7
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Just to clarify (because my wording was bad), I'm skating 3-4 days a week, and weight training 2 days a week. So it's not all skating.
It takes 48-96 hours for muscles to recover from a power workout - skating or weights. So if you skate hard and lift weights in consecutive days you are sabotaging your own development.

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I always give myself plenty of rest the week leading up to the race, usually skating once earlier in the week and maybe going for a short ride on the bike and doing some stretching and mobility.

I've noticed that some of my strongest training skates have come the morning right after doing an intense gym session the night before, even though my muscles are sore. Maybe this is silly, but could I be giving myself too much rest during race weeks?
There is a real art to the taper period. I have found my sweet spot is around two weeks. At that point I start backing off. In the week or so before competition I am doing only 50% of my normal training volume, but a fair bit of that is sprints. As long as you don't go to fatigue your muscles can recover faster from sprints than from longer distances. I don't skip training days; they are just shorter.

Your scenario may be different. Aside from diet, training routine, and genetics, I am training for indoors, which means less than 10 miles in a day even if I skate heats in inlines.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 03:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ThePerambulator View Post
Thanks for posting this. I think this might be the missing piece of my training puzzle. I do strength training twice a week and skate 4 days a week, but it is all hard skating with hills and intervals, and I don't have a heart rate monitor.

At the beginning of the skating season, my skating was mostly slow to moderate pace just to get the skating muscles back in shape. Not a lot of hard skates, intervals, or hills -- mostly just 60-90 minutes of low to moderate intensity skating. My first race was Apostle Islands, and I felt amazing in that race -- never once felt like I was going to get dropped, never close to redlining. My first top 10 finish.

After Apostle, our training skates began to focus more on going as fast and hard as we could. That's what a race is, right? So why wouldn't that work.

Fast forward to the rest of the year:

In my last three races, I have felt DEAD after just 5 or 6 miles. Heart rate through the roof, muscles clenched up, can't catch my breath...I feel like I am in WORSE shape after training hard 6 days a week all summer, than I was at the beginning of the year with far "less intense" training.

I think this article may have hit the nail on the head -- perhaps my aerobic system is underdeveloped, so I'm jumping straight into anaerobic as soon as the pace goes up or someone attacks, and I can't recover. My body has become more inefficient as the season has gone on.

I'm definitely going to add heart rate training to my training regimen over the winter and into next season.
Cheers for sharing.

The concepts of base building and periodisation are not new.. they go back to Arther Lydiad in the 1950s and even further. I sometimes think that skaters get so involved in the finer aspects of working on double push, technique and all the bells and whistles that they neglect good training practices that are applicable across all sports.

I'm currently reading through Maffetone's "The Big Book Of Endurance Racing & Training" and I think that he would say that that your example is all too typical of what he's seen with the many hundreds of of athletes that he has worked with as they neglect their base fitness during the season.


To monitor your aerobic fitness, Maffetone prescribes the "MAF" (Maximum Aerobic Funtion) test - which is a simple 3 or 5 mile time time run at your maximum aerobic heart rate (this can be very accurately determined with the 180 formula that appears in that Mark Allen article). The result of this is a direct indication of the state of your aerobic base - even if you are maintaining good race performances, if you find a regression in your MAF test then you need to pay attention to that and address it with because ultimately it's going to cap your performance. Maffetone commonly worked with runners and triathletes, but the same MAF time trial concept can be applied to skating just as well, as I have done here.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 04:23 PM   #9
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Maffetone is a regular on the podcast circuit. If you are not familiar with him, I would highly recommend listening to this podcast if you have an hour to spare:

http://trailrunnernation.com/2013/01...-slowing-down/

If you can't seem to get any faster no matter how hard you were training, this could revolutionize the way you approach things.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 04:39 PM   #10
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I have some thoughts on this issue.

First, I don't really think speed skating is an endurance sport, at least not for marathon-distance races (A2A is another story). The more competitive skaters are finishing in 60-80 minutes depending on the course and conditions, and it's pretty much a fast pace with even faster surges/intervals. IMHO VO2Max is more important than aerobic efficiency for this type of race.

For instance using myself as example, my max HR these days is about 182. At Rollin on the River my average HR was 167 (92% HRM), and I spent most of the race right at aenerobic threshold with frequent intervals well above it (see here). There was no time at all spent in the 'endurance' zones:
Code:
Z1 Endurance <131          5s   0%	
Z2 Moderate  131 - 143	   5s   0%	
Z3 Tempo     143 - 154	 2:06   3%	
Z4 Threshold 154 - 166  39:37  50%	
Z5 Anaerobic >166       37:22  47%

So to me, speedskating is very different from triathalons, running marathons, or road cycling races that last several hours. Those are true endurance sports, and speedskating isn't. IMHO you have to be careful assuming that training approaches that work for those sports will directly translate to speedskating.

I'm not saying building and endurance base isn't important. Coming out of the off-season it makes sense to focus more on building your endurance base with more lower-intensity, longer efforts. But once you build that (which shouldn't take the whole season), it's pretty easy to maintain without a lot of low-intensity training. Current thinking is that 2-4 endurance-focused workouts a month should be sufficient to maintain your aerobic base.

I think there are 4 types of workouts you want to have in your training program, which can be defined based on HR zones/intensity

endurance - longer workouts (ideally 90+ minutes) primarily in zone 2
tempo - medium-length workouts at fairly high intensity, zone 3/4, with maybe a few short intervals thrown in to simulate racing conditions
intervals - shorter workouts with periods of very high intensity (there are lots of ways to structure these)
recovery - primarily zone 1, shorter/easier than endurance workouts

Focusing too much of your training time on any one of these is a good way to overtrain and/or have gaps in your overall fitness.

One thing I've found is that cross-training has been a big help for me. I don't do endurance training on the skates, because frankly it's difficult to keep the heart rate down while skating with good speed technique, plus the recovery cost of long skates is just too high. I do my endurance work on the road bike, where I have the advantage of gearing to keep the intensity where I want it. I also seem to recover more quickly from long rides than from long skates. Spinning in an easy gear also makes a good recovery workout.

So my skating is focused more on tempo and interval workouts. This approach has worked really well for me this year. We'll see if I can make it through the end of the season without overtraining (that was my problem at Duluth and Bear Creek last year).
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Old August 19th, 2014, 04:45 PM   #11
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Maybe this is silly, but could I be giving myself too much rest during race weeks?
Yes, I think you may be tapering too much for races that are very similar to your current training plan. For a Saturday race, I think you should skip the weights two weeks out, that first week, focus on longer distance, consistent pace skates with a couple of interval sessions thrown in. The week before the race, do a tempo skate early in the week, and then do relaxed skates at least twice. You probably don't need much more than 2 or 3 total rest days prior to race day.

As for HR training, I totally agree that there needs to be a lot of Zone 2 HR training going on year round. It shouldn't be exclusive, especially in the build phase of training, but volume Zone 2 cardio is an essential component. I wrote on my blog recently about this. Zone 2 cardio builds the mitochondrial density in your slow twitch muscles, which increases your lactate threshold and your ability to clear lactic acid after intervals. It also makes your body much more efficient at using its energy stores. However, you can't just train Zone 2 cardio. Every endurance coach stresses the need for some kind of interval training. Interval training also helps increase your VO2 Max, and trains your fast twitch muscles to work with your slow twitch muscles to clear lactate efficiently. In addition, your heart will spend more time working at peak level, around your HR max, which will help your body get better at working at these levels, making you stronger overall. I have a post I need to finish on interval training. I have previously written on long duration Zone 2 HR training, also. My long training is either on skates or on the bike in the trainer. I find the bike to be better for targeted Zone 2 workouts because the conditions are easier to control.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 04:49 PM   #12
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I always give myself plenty of rest the week leading up to the race, usually skating once earlier in the week and maybe going for a short ride on the bike and doing some stretching and mobility.

I've noticed that some of my strongest training skates have come the morning right after doing an intense gym session the night before, even though my muscles are sore. Maybe this is silly, but could I be giving myself too much rest during race weeks?
IMHO the traditional week-long taper where you do more rest than training is not the best approach, especially for higher-intensity races.

A better approach is to cut volume but keep intensity up. Ditch the endurance and tempo work, and do interval workouts alternating with active recovery.

For instance, this was my training the week leading up to Rollin on the River:

Monday - tempo skate
Tuesday - active recovery on bike
Weds - skate intervals
Thurs - active recovery on bike
Friday - short interval skate

For Friday's interval workout, I did a warm-up followed by three 30-second intervals with 90 seconds rest, then a brief cool-down. The intervals were not all-out max efforts, more like 90-95%, and at 30s they weren't too taxing. Total workout time was only 1/2 hour.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 04:56 PM   #13
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IMHO the traditional week-long taper where you do more rest than training is not the best approach, especially for higher-intensity races.

A better approach is to cut volume but keep intensity up. Ditch the endurance and tempo work, and do interval workouts alternating with active recovery.

For instance, this was my training the week leading up to Rollin on the River:

Monday - tempo skate
Tuesday - active recovery on bike
Weds - skate intervals
Thurs - active recovery on bike
Friday - short interval skate

For Friday's interval workout, I did a warm-up followed by three 30-second intervals with 90 seconds rest, then a brief cool-down. The intervals were not all-out max efforts, more like 90-95%, and at 30s they weren't too taxing. Total workout time was only 1/2 hour.
I agree with this...the only thing I would add is that it definitely depends on the person and what his/her training load has been like in weeks prior. There are times where I hammer it hard three or four weeks before the recovery week, leading up to a race. And, thus, I need a really easy week to feel fresh for the race. But, I do try to skate some fast stuff during the recovery week. There was a lot of speculation that part of the reason the USA ice team did so poorly in the Olympics this past year was partly due to the fact that they skated on slow ice a couple weeks leading up to the games. I think the same could hold true for inline racing - you don't want to get used to slow skating, leading up to a high intensity race.

WJCIV - Your data may be right, but if you need 48 to 90+ hours to recover, it makes it really hard to get some decent training in. I guess I don't know what you mean when you say a power workout (on skates)...is this sprinting, intervals, etc? I do try to switch up distances and intensity, but I definitely don't take several days between hard workouts. Maybe that is hurting me - not sure.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 05:04 PM   #14
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In my last three races, I have felt DEAD after just 5 or 6 miles. Heart rate through the roof, muscles clenched up, can't catch my breath...I feel like I am in WORSE shape after training hard 6 days a week all summer, than I was at the beginning of the year with far "less intense" training.
I saw most of your video from Rollin on the River, and I skated in the same pack that you were in for the first half of the race (I was wearing the EdgeTek suit and aero helmet).

It seems like the surges in that first chase pack were just a little too intense for you to recover from. Once you dropped from that pack and had some time to recover, you did really well in the second chase pack, taking strong pulls and even winning the field sprint.

If I were you I would work on recovering from max efforts while still maintaining high intensity. You've got to be able to recover from those surges while maintaining tempo pace, as opposed to backing off and slowing down to recover. Try some interval workouts where you go hard for 30-60 seconds, but then only slow down a little for the recovery interval (eg stay in HR zone 4)
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Old August 19th, 2014, 05:35 PM   #15
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WJCIV - Your data may be right, but if you need 48 to 90+ hours to recover, it makes it really hard to get some decent training in. I guess I don't know what you mean when you say a power workout (on skates)...is this sprinting, intervals, etc? I do try to switch up distances and intensity, but I definitely don't take several days between hard workouts. Maybe that is hurting me - not sure.
That's pretty much what I mean. Anything that is intensive enough to approximate a lifting day in the gym. Not the HR zone 2-3 workouts, and nothing where you only spend a couple of minutes sprinting.

These workouts aren't quite as intense as lifting, and if you get some protein/carb intake as soon as you finish I find that 48 hours is plenty (maybe that will change as I get older). So just don't do the high intensity stuff on back to back days. It feels like you are wasting a day, but in reality rest is just as important as the workout. I do get away with the occasional back-to-back schedule if I have to take a few days off for travel or the like.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 05:45 PM   #16
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I have some thoughts on this issue.

First, I don't really think speed skating is an endurance sport, at least not for marathon-distance races (A2A is another story). The more competitive skaters are finishing in 60-80 minutes depending on the course and conditions, and it's pretty much a fast pace with even faster surges/intervals. IMHO VO2Max is more important than aerobic efficiency for this type of race.
I disagree strongly right there, and that is perhaps where many mediocre skaters are going wrong. Anything that relies primarily on submaximal effort powered by the aerobic system is by definition an endurance sport, and anything longer than a 400m run is primarily aerobic. you may have come across variations of this data before:



(source: http://www.zone5endurance.com/?p=1770)

This is data for runners, of course, but 235 seconds is not a long time by any stretch of the imagination, yet 84% your energy is sourced from the aerobic system during that time.

VO2max is pretty useless in predicting race pace, and many studies have confirmed this. On the other hand, there are excellent formulae on how you can extrapolate race performance at shorter distances such as 1 mile or 5km that will give you a very good indicator how you perform in longer races such as half and full marathons. This is pure physiology - the same aerobic system that limits you in a 1 miler is limiting you in a 26 milers.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 06:05 PM   #17
JeffK
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I disagree strongly right there, and that is perhaps where many mediocre skaters are going wrong. Anything that relies primarily on submaximal effort powered by the aerobic system is by definition an endurance sport, and anything longer than a 400m run is primarily aerobic.
So by your definition 800m runners are endurance athletes? The term aerobic is pretty broad. Yes, anything longer than about 30-45 becomes primarily aerobic in that fuel sources used by the body require oxygen to process. But the mix of fuel sources used for shorter efforts at high intensity is different from the mix used in a 2-3 hour effort at lower intensity.The shorter, higher intensity efforts rely primarily on glycogen as the fuel source, but you can't do that for more than about 90 minutes. Longer efforts require more energy to come from fat and consumed carbohydrates.

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VO2max is pretty useless in predicting race pace, and many studies have confirmed this. On the other hand, there are excellent formulae on how you can extrapolate race performance at shorter distances such as 1 mile or 5km that will give you a very good indicator how you perform in longer races such as half and full marathons. This is pure physiology - the same aerobic system that limits you in a 1 miler is limiting you in a 26 milers.
I disagree with this. Running is different, races tend to be steady-state most of the way, with maybe a short burst of intensity at the end. The idea that you would use your 1mile time on skates to predict marathon pace strikes me as pretty ridiculous unless you're talking about time trials. There are too many other variables in pack skating (drafting, attacks, etc). My point is that outdoor speedskating at marathon distances has more in common with bike criterium races than with triathalons or running marathons.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 06:12 PM   #18
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I've noticed that some of my strongest training skates have come the morning right after doing an intense gym session the night before, even though my muscles are sore. Maybe this is silly, but could I be giving myself too much rest during race weeks?
I have read about this and experienced it too. It's probably a sign of the onset of over-training. The theory is that the previous high intensity workout triggered a large cortisol response from your adrenals, stimulating your sympathetic nervous system (the "flight or fight" branch). As a result, your body is "up for it" and able to go an smash it on the very next workout. However it's not sustainable and your body needs to recover otherwise it will break down. If you try to carry on your will suffer stage 2 and stage 3 adrenal fatigue.

Doctor Phil talks about it here: http://www.philmaffetone.com/the-overtraining-syndrome

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"The first stage of overtraining is not usually accompanied by classical problems but by very subtle or subclinical ones. This may include a seemingly minor plateau or slight regression in training performance most easily observed when measuring heart rate vs. pace (the MAF Test). Interestingly, this stage is sometimes accompanied by a sudden or dramatic improvement in competitive performance that may convince the athlete that training is progressing well. This temporary improvement may be due to an abnormal overactive sympathetic nervous system. (This may be followed by a physical injury, marking the start of the second stage of overtraining.)
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Old August 19th, 2014, 07:56 PM   #19
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I have read about this and experienced it too. It's probably a sign of the onset of over-training. The theory is that the previous high intensity workout triggered a large cortisol response from your adrenals, stimulating your sympathetic nervous system (the "flight or fight" branch). As a result, your body is "up for it" and able to go an smash it on the very next workout. However it's not sustainable and your body needs to recover otherwise it will break down. If you try to carry on your will suffer stage 2 and stage 3 adrenal fatigue.

Doctor Phil talks about it here: http://www.philmaffetone.com/the-overtraining-syndrome
You almost lost me when you referenced Doctor Phil, Note it is not "the" Doctor Phil from TV. This one seems to know what he is talking about.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 08:32 PM   #20
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So by your definition 800m runners are endurance athletes? The term aerobic is pretty broad. Yes, anything longer than about 30-45 becomes primarily aerobic in that fuel sources used by the body require oxygen to process. But the mix of fuel sources used for shorter efforts at high intensity is different from the mix used in a 2-3 hour effort at lower intensity.The shorter, higher intensity efforts rely primarily on glycogen as the fuel source, but you can't do that for more than about 90 minutes. Longer efforts require more energy to come from fat and consumed carbohydrates.


I disagree with this. Running is different, races tend to be steady-state most of the way, with maybe a short burst of intensity at the end. The idea that you would use your 1mile time on skates to predict marathon pace strikes me as pretty ridiculous unless you're talking about time trials. There are too many other variables in pack skating (drafting, attacks, etc). My point is that outdoor speedskating at marathon distances has more in common with bike criterium races than with triathalons or running marathons.
I'm skimming a lot of these posts, so perhaps I missed important details. But, marathon skating is definitely an endurance sport, at least in my mind. Yeah, we only skate for 60 or 80 minutes, but that is a lengthy period of time. I skated Rollin' on the River this past weekend, and there were only a few times that I actually stood up and rested. Every race is different, and yes, there is attacking and some resting that happens, but most of the time, you are having to skate at somewhat of a steady state, even during the resting periods. You can't skate 26.2 miles in just over an hour, simply by sprinting a few times to stay with the attacks and then resting comfortably in the draft the rest of the way. It's usally a high pace that requires work, even when drafting.

Would you say the 10K skaters in the Olympics are not endurance athletes? Those guys are only skating for 13 minutes or less. But, I can tell you from experience - a 10K on ice is about as painful as it gets.

You seem like you know your stuff and not trying to argue. I'm just confused as to why you said marathon skating isn't an endurance sport. I do understand your point about the crits in bike racing. To me, those seem more like "sprint events"...but, I'm not a bike racer, so I don't have enough knowledge to really make a fair statement on that. I would say that even in crit racing, you have to have a fairly decent amount of aerobic conditioning, just to stay with the pace for the entire duration of the race.
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