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Skating Laps to Build Endurance for Roller Derby

Be Super Awesome

Most skaters are familiar with the dreaded “time trial”. Just in case you don’t know about this particular form of torture/training, (that I love) let me explain. A time trial is a 1 minute or 5 minute period of time where a skater is timed and tries to perform a minimum number of laps in the given time frame. Most leagues expect skaters to perform 5 or 6 laps per minute, or 25-27 laps in a 5 minute period. WFTDA minimum skills now requires that skaters can perform 27 laps in 5 minutes (a little over 11 seconds per lap) and can skate 1 lap in 13 seconds, starting from a stopped position.

When you’re first starting out time trials can be one of the hardest skills to pass – and one your league may not actually practice often. Because lets face it, few people LIKE doing endurance, although we all want to have it. Many times leagues focus on teaching all of the other skills and may only occasionally run endurance practices. If your league regularly runs endurance practices, consider yourself lucky! Yes, you read that correctly. ;)

Roller Derby Time Trial Training Programs

first skatesIf your league doesn’t regularly practice endurance don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. Building endurance can be as easy as spending 15-20 minutes extra on the track just 1-3 times per week. The more days per week you can dedicate – the faster you will see results. And it’s easy – all you need to do is skate laps and time yourself. This is the easiest and fastest way that I know to build up skating endurance specifically to pass time trials and increase speed on the track.

Track Note: If you are a banked track skater or have access to a banked track (yay!) it is actually best to skate laps on the flat track whenever possible. The banked track can increase speed and sometimes decrease the amount of push needed therefore decreasing how fast you will see results.

HIIT Skating Laps for Endurance

HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training. This is exactly how this training program is designed – high intensity level periods of training with lower intensity periods in between for recovery. I will outline two different options for your endurance training and I highly encourage you to try out both. If you can try each option for at least a week you will most likely be able to find which one feels best to your body. Or take the more scientific route and skate each program for two weeks then continue with the option that gives you the best results.

HIIT Time Trial Training Option 1

Traditional HIIT levels. Repeat 5 intervals of:

  1. 100%, balls-out, sprint skating without pacing. Go, go, go!
  2. 50% skating pace

HIIT Time Trial Training Option 2

This one is my favorite because it gives your body a little bit more variety and doesn’t demand as many 100% intervals which can be too hard on your body if you are doing a lot of off-skates activities or are already beat up from scrimmage or bouting. At the same time it is still intense and leads to quick results.

Do 1 interval each as follows with 50% skating pace intervals in between.

  1. 70% skating pace
  2. 80%
  3. 100% – no pacing – go, go go!
  4. 100%
  5. 80%
  6. 100%
  7. 70%
  8. 100%
  9. 80%
  10. 100%

Choose Your Endurance Goal – Laps or Time?

Next choose which type of goal you want to set – tracking by lap or by time. You can either complete a set number of laps and time them, or you can set a timer and track how many laps you complete.

Using Laps as a Goal

To set a goal using laps decide beforehand how many laps you want to complete during each interval. I would recommend starting with 5-8 laps if you are a beginner, 8-10 laps for intermediate skaters, and 10+ for advanced skaters and those of you born with the endurance gene. Add laps as your endurance increases – once you reach a certain number of laps you can decrease the number of intervals but still aim for the same total time.

Measuring by laps using Option 1 above you will want to complete 5 complete intervals, as follows:

  • 10 laps at 100%
  • 10 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 100%
  • 10 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 100%
  • 10 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 100%
  • 10 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 100%
  • 10 laps at 50%

Total: About 14:00 minutes at a 27/lap pace

Using Option 2 above, your training program would look like this measuring by laps:

  • 10 laps at 70%
  • 3 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 80%
  • 3 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 100%
  • 3 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 100%
  • 3 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 80%
  • 3 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 100%
  • 3 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 70%
  • 3 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 100%
  • 3 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 80%
  • 3 laps at 50%
  • 10 laps at 100%
  • Cool down

Total: 18:45 minutes at a 27/lap pace

clock

Using Time as a Goal

Using time as your goal you will pick the length of your high intensity intervals and your rest intervals. I recommend making your rest periods 25-50% shorter than your work intervals. You can start with longer rest periods and then make them shorter as you progress.

Increase the duration to your high intensity intervals as your endurance increases. Add 10-30 seconds at a time once a week or every other week. As you add time you can decrease the number of intervals to keep the total time about the same.

Using time as your goal and Option 1 above you will want to do 10 complete intervals as follows:

  • 1 minute at 100%
  • 30 seconds at 50%

Total: 15:00 minutes

Using Option 2 above measuring by time, complete:

  • 1 minute at 70%
  • 30 seconds at 50%
  • 1 minute at 80%
  • 30 seconds at 50%
  • 1 minute at 100%
  • 3o seconds at 50%
  • 1 minute at 100%
  • 30 seconds at 50%
  • 1 minute at 80%
  • 30 seconds at 50%
  • 1 minute at 100%
  • 30 seconds at 50%
  • 1 minute at 70%
  • 30 seconds at 50%
  • 1 minute at 100%
  • 30 seconds at 50%
  • 1 minute at 80%
  • 30 seconds at 50%
  • 1 minute at 100%
  • Cool down

Total: 15:00 minutes

journal

Track Your Progress

During each high intensity period you will want to track some data so you can see your progression. You don’t need to track rest periods – but you can if you want to. Set this up grid style and you can easily see your numbers improving from week to week. If your goal is:

  • Laps – Track how many laps you complete at each high intensity interval.
  • Time – Use a timer to track how long each set of laps takes you to complete for each high intensity interval.

Here is an example table of what tracking by laps might look like, running 1 minute interval.

% Monday % Thursday
70% 3.50 laps 70% 3.75 laps
80% 4.00 80% 4.25
100% 4.75 100% 4.75
100% 4.75 100% 4.75
80% 3.75 80% 3.75
100% 4.75 100% 5.00
60% 3.25 60% 3.50

Here is an example table of what tracking by time might look like, running 10 laps each intervals.

% Monday % Thursday
70% 1:55 min. 70% 1:55 min.
80% 1:45 80% 1:45
100% 1:43 100% 1:36
100% 1:39 100% 1:38
80% 1:55 80% 1:43
100% 1:39 100% 1:39
60% 2:05 60% 2:00

I hope that you will try this out and if you do I would love to hear how you progress. I saw results just about each session – it may have been shaving only a few seconds off or adding only a quarter lap, but in the grand scheme of derby, those numbers are HUGE. A game is just a period of 60 or 120 second rounds made up of little moments consisting of seconds and short sections of track. It all counts!

Categories:  Training

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