The Long Skate  
Slow distance  
Weekly distance  
125% Rule  
Time in skates  


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Training Tips (1)

Updated November 23, 2003

Training for Endurance...


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.

 Endurance -- The Long Skate 

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 next week.



 Endurance -- Long Slow Distance 

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.



 Endurance -- Weekly Distance 

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.



 Endurance -- The 125% Rule 

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.



 Endurance -- Time in your skates 

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.



 Endurance -- Technique 

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