Training for Long Track speed skating is a highly varied affair. Not only is there a distinct difference between summer and winter training but there is also a large variety of training needed during each season. The long track speed skater needs fitness, leg strength, balance and a fine motor-rhythmic control in order to perfect the technique.
It is typically split into 2 main periods (Summer and Winter training) with a rest and recovery period of one month between the end of the Winter training and the start of the Summer training. Each of the key training periods is also split into two parts and within each of these there is a shorter cyclic build up and recovery split that becomes more pronounced in the competition season.
The training is designed to enable the athletes to peak in the Jan – March time period, when Major Championships and Events take place.
Summer training (May – Sept)
Period 1: Basic fitness period (May – June)
This period consists mostly of low to mid intensity training and is targeted to build the fundamental fitness levels of the athlete upon which the rest of the season is built. Cycling forms the mainstay of the training along with jogging but circuit training, strength, balance and in-line skating training are also present in low intensity. These trainings concentrate on developing the core stability and strength needed for the next periods of training.
Period 2: Fitness, strength and technique (July – Sept)
Once the underlying fitness and core strength has been built up more emphasis is placed on improving strength and starting to work on skating technique. During this period the fitness and stamina levels are increased further by building up the distances and durations of the cycling and the core strength and stability is maintained. The strength is built up with skating specific excercises that demand also good balance. Technique is worked on by using shorttrack training and in-line skating.
Winter Training (Oct – Mar)
Period 1: Technique and competition practice (Oct – Dec)
The first period of winter training concentrates firmly on skating technique and competition preparation. There is a significant amount of on ice time but strength, fitness and stamina are still worked on off the ice.
Period2: Competition peaking (Jan – Mar)
This is the period the rest of the year has been building towards, the fitness and strength built during the other periods now comes into its own. No technique changes or new technique work is introduced but what has been done is maintained. A strong short period cyclic peaking in the training is introduced to coincide with targeted competitions. There is little off ice training in this period, only sufficient to maintain the levels achieved already.
Rest and Recovery (April)
After 11 months of hard training, the body and mind both need some down time to recover, relax, reflect and re-motivate for the next season. Any sport should be done purely for recreation and pleasure.