I Did a Thing!
On, Saturday, 6/29/2019, I completed my first inline event! Yes, it was a race. For me, finishing is my winning. Not only did I "win", but I got my best time to date for the distance. I completed 6.23 miles in 50:24, which gives me an average pace of 8:05 minutes per mile. Success!
Why I Picked This Event
In previous blog entries, I have outlined my 3 phase inline marathon training plan. To help measure my progress and stay on track, I included 4 key events in my plans. Completing this 10K skate was the second key milestone in my overall plan. Here are those 4 milestone events:
My Goals and Objectives
For this particular event, my primary goal was to finish the event. I estimated that I could finish in about an hour given my times on previous 6-ish mile skates. I exceeded my own expectations by finishing in less time than anticipated.
Above and beyond just plain finishing, I had a few more objectives:
My Preparation: Training
I signed up for this event since it was nearby and fit in well with my overall inline marathon training plan. To get ready, here's what my physical training looked like from the beginning of May through the event:
My Preparation: Planning
As the event drew closer, I thought about logistical planning. The day before, I picked up my bibs (numbers) and t shirt. That same day, I drove the course. In retrospect, I should have done that WAY SOONER to get a handle on the terrain.
I figured out core logistics of parking, getting to the start line, and getting from the finish line to where we parked. I also enlisted my husband to be my road crew. He drove us to the event, kept us on time, got us parked, helped me pin on my numbers, and brought my shoes to the finish line. He executed all of the plans to get us where we needed to be, when we needed to be there that would have stressed me out on the day of the event.
What Went Well
The event itself went well. I achieved my primary goal of finishing, and even made good time through it all. My nutrition and hydration worked and I didn't feel dehydrated or have what I will politely call "gastro-intestinal distress" on the day of the event. I achieved a personal best time, and I felt good after I finished (perhaps partly because I got to stop skating after doing many, many hills). Post event, I ate a good meal, did some yoga, took a power nap, soaked in Epsom salt, and iced my left knee. Now, a day later, I'm only a little bit sore, which is encouraging.
I also realized how supportive people are at these events. There were some professional inline skaters at the front of the pack, then people who were more recreational. Along the whole course, people were encouraging. This included volunteers directing us the right way, police officers directing traffic, people who passed me, the water station helpers, and people not in the event who were just skating or running by. Everyone had words of encouragement to share. As I was struggling up the last, ridiculously long hill, I heard "almost at the top," "only 1 kilometer to go," "looking good," "you got this," and "you can do this!" That type of support in the moment makes all of the difference. While I pride myself of my ability to power through adversity, voices to help cheer on the voice in my head telling me I'm going to make it help. It also gives me faith in the goodness of the world.
What Could Have Gone Better
While I did drive the course, I drove it the day before the event--which didn't give me a lot of time to course correct my training. During that drive, which was almost an afterthought, I realized that there were a fair amount of hills on the course. I was worried about going down the hills and not totally losing control. I knew how to ascend hills, and though I was not very efficient in doing so, I knew I could complete the course as long as I could navigate downhill stretches.
In retrospect, I would have checked out the course earlier and trained accordingly. I definitely made up time from climbing the multiple hills by doing a little faster downhill afterwards. The last hill was very, very ugly. I definitely need to do more, different terrain so that isn't such an effort--or a surprise.
Lessons Learned and Next Steps
My next inline event is the first Saturday in August in St Paul. Here's how I will change my current training plan to be more successful in that event:
What Do You Think?
How have you trained for athletic events? Include your thoughts in the comments.
My 3 Phase Inline Marathon Training Plan
In a recent blog post, I talked about my previous half-baked inline half marathon plan. I learned the hard way that I need a solid training plan to reach my goals. This time around, here is my three-phase training plan to achieve my inline skating marathon related goals:
Phase III: Game On!
Welcome to Phase III of my inline marathon training plan. This is where, to put it plainly, shit gets real. Now I'm skating and getting ready for a crazy long skate and realizing how far I'm going to go between now and mid-September.
Goals: Skate longer distances outside on uneven terrain.
My Overarching Training Plan for Phase III
I’ve done a fair share of research for books or online resources, and there’s not a thorough roadmap for how to train for an inline marathon available. There aren’t many current go-to websites or a book to help guide the way. I dug a bit more and found useful ideas for how to go about this from a variety of disparate sources. From parts, I’ve cobbled together a plan from the huge body of information available on running your first marathon, websites with dribs and drabs on inline marathons, and resources on physical training in general.
From that I put together a personal training plan for myself that incorporates the following:
Skating Longer Distance
The core part of my plan includes skating outside on a regular basis. My starting point is skating 3 miles, partly because I know I can complete that distance (instead of starting at a mile or so of skating). In addition, my very favorite neighborhood lake with a biking trail is about 3 miles long. I have a whole plan plotted out for skating 3 times per week, which includes two shorter skates, and one longer skate per week. It also includes adding mileage weekly and scaling back a bit every three weeks to gradually build up mileage. I’m also incorporating the taper that running marathoners use which involves reducing mileage just before the event.
Improve Skating Technique
I am pretty tough in general, and I know I can power through many obstacles. However, I’m also smart enough to know that white knuckling my way through an event like this should by no means be plan A. I know I need to keep increasing my overall endurance (building on what I accomplished through the running in the last phase of this process.) I also know that my technique needs some serious leveling up. I need to transition from basically walking on inline skates, to having something that is more recognizable as an efficient stride. I need to get more distance from each stride and be more efficient so I can complete an event that is, to date, about 4 times longer than any skate I have ever done. This includes taking inline skating lessons, doing drills, doing sport specific conditioning, and a whole lot of practicing.
Incorporating Cross Training
I also know I can’t just skate to get ready for this event. First off, sometimes the weather won’t cooperate with my plans to skate outside. This is where running (indoors or outdoors) will be one form of cross training, as will biking (including a spinning class that I have committed to going to with a co-worker of mine—who I think may be trying to kill me aka “give me additional cross training options.”) I’m even planning on doing a roller derby class, which will keep me on skates, but focus more on stopping and starting than logging mileage. I’m also lifting weights, including kettlebell, to round out my training plan. Above and beyond cross training in other cardio activities, I'll be doing activities to help with recover. This includes stretching, foam roller, and yoga on a near daily basis.
What Do You Think
How have you prepared for an inline marathon or other longer event? How did you prepare? Share your thoughts in the comments.
I learn for a living. I distill my research into useful blog entries. Geek, parent, knitter, yogi, writer, educator, businessperson, health advocate, & skating nerd.