Défi de L'Île de Montréal
128 km on inline skates
The Long Skate
Time in skates
How do you train for an ultramarathon event like the Défi de L'Île? It's
actually pretty simple: just get used to covering a lot of distance and spending
a lot of time in your skates. There are however some principles to follow. You
don't have to follow them, but if you do, you'll have a very good chance of doing
well at the Défi -- and having a good time doing it.
The Long Skate. You should be going for one Long Skate
every week, in which you're out on your skates for at least 2 hours, ideally
covering at least 40 km (25 miles). The first time you do this it may seem like
quite an exploit, but as the season goes by you'll find it more and more natural.
From time to time, go longer than you've gone before; then cut back a bit the
LSD = Long Slow Distance. The way to develop endurance is
to gradually get the body accustomed to increasingly long bouts of moderate
physical activity. Endurance doesn't mean being able to carry on through intense
muscle pain and fatigue. It means the ability of the body to perform efficiently
at a moderate pace over an extended period of
time -- without fatigue or pain. To develop your
endurance, take the LSD approach: go long and go slow. On race day you'll have
all the speed you need.
If you can do it in a week, you can do it in a day. This
rule of thumb should take the pressure off if you've started getting ready a bit
late in the season. If you can build your weekly distance to 128 km (79.5 mi),
you should certainly be able to complete the Défi. Just remember that when you
skate a lot further than you're used to, there's a tendency to lose your
technique -- to start skating worse and worse,
causing more and more pain to your ankles. To avoid this problem, be sure to
build your Long Skate to 50 or 60 km before Taper Week.
The 125% Rule. This is an even better rule of thumb: try
to build your weekly distance to 125% of the distance of the race. In the case of
the Défi, this means 160 km (99.4 mi). Even if you can only reach this goal in
the last week or two before Taper Week, it will help you
at the Défi. All the better if you can get there sooner, as long as you're not
wearing yourself out.
Spend time in your skates. For distance skating, often
the time you spend in your skates is more important than how far you go.
Even when you're not going fast at all, in fact when you're not even going at
endurance pace, you're still using the muscles that keep you upright in your
skates, controlling your direction and remaining stable. Use this principle
to help you keep track of the gradual increase in your weekly distance: on a
day when you skated for two hours but don't know how far, count it as the
distance you would normally cover at endurance pace, such as 40 km.
Use your distance workouts for technical training. (This
won't help your endurance, but it will definitely help your skating.) As pointed
out above, the longer you go the more tired you become, and the worse you skate.
This plain fact is an opportunity to stop that from happening. On long
skates, pay attention to how you're skating. As fatigue sets in, pay attention
even more. Develop a habit of catching yourself whenever you slip into inefficient
movement due to muscle fatigue -- poor skating is
far more tiring than good skating. On race day you'll be a better skater, and
you'll keep being better right to the end.
|Þ Avoiding injuries|