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A first time A2A skater's training

kjg's picture

This year will be my first skating A2A - after last years cancellation. I have struggled to find good information online about training for this unusual event and thought it might be helpful to others to document my training and end result.

I started skating a year and a half ago and am addicted. I signed up for 87 miles at A2A last year but it was not to be, so instead I went to the Tour to Tanglewood and had a grand time there.

As a baseline I recently skated a flat marathon (with a little help from my friends!) in 1hr 55 mins with zero training.

I plan to skate at least 5 days/week this summer and will be skating the following "special" events prior to A2A: Elfstedentocht tour (240km in 3 days); Tour to Tanglewood (hoping to max out the miles) and the Pere de Mrquette trail event (60 flat miles).

I will endevour to blog weekly my training and progress.

I welcome any constructive criticism or helpful advise on my methods. I will post HRM data and speed to give an idea of my progress. However, please do not be alarmed that I regularly skate with a HR between 180 and 190. I have determined that this is just how I am and through comparison with percieved exertion levels (nasal vs. non-nasal breathing my lactate threshold is around 187 bpm.)

If anyone would like to join me they are most welcome. 


eebee's picture

What is your A2A goal?

Do you want to just finish the whole 87 miles in tact, or do you have a time you're shooting for?


Some casual suggestions based purely on my own past experience (2 years doing the 38 miler and 4 years doing the 87) -


Find people to practice 'pacelining' with. Being able to hang with a pack is critical to improving your time on A2A. Less wind-resistance and more momentum going downhill.


Spinning is excellent cross-training if you have to lose a day to rain or other commitments. The people I knew who took spinning classes even just once a week had a speed and effort advantage over those who didn't, but who also started their training at a similar fitness level. I noticed a dramatic improvement myself the year I got on the stationary bike even just once a week. It's just these days my boredom on the stationary bike wins out over my desire to improve my A2A time!


Having a good stretch/yoga routine you're comfortable with will help your body become limber enough to improve your A2A experience, and will help you on the side of the road when your limbs have locked up completely around mile 60 :-)


During and after the event you will be very thankful if you had included brutal-hills as part of your training a few times a week. But don't forget to balance it out with LSD (long steady distance), which doesn't necessarily have to be hilly to get the heart-rate benefits.


It's a great idea to use those mammoth 3-5 hour hilly skrides to get to know your own particular hydration and nutrition needs. Insufficient drink and carbs during an otherwise well-trained A2A can wreck your whole effort.


Be sure to include a rest day each week, even if it's 'active rest'. A good time to do that would be the day after a mammoth 3-5 hour hill-climbing event. This'll give your muscles the time they'll need to rebuild, repair and come back stronger.


 Have fun training. I look forward to your progress reports!

kjg's picture


I want to finish with a half decent time. Exactly what number that is I am still unsure of and trying to figure out a realistic target/achievable goal. Any input based on current ability etc. would be greatfully recieved.
eebee's picture

A2A time (87) (edited)

OK after just seeing what you're actually doing, with whom and your times, I think you will have an outstanding finishing time on A2A if this is where you're at already. The only comment I will keep in though, is this:

Headwinds (2003) or pouring rain (1999) will obviously slow everybody down.

kjg's picture

KJG A2A Training Week 1

8-june-06     11 miles in 55 mins (with stop) with Bridget on her Bicycle at Willow and Oakwood Metropark. HR: Max 190 Avg 168

9-june- 06    Ran 1 mile 

10-june-06   13 miles in an hour gentle skating on Hines Drive with Shawna. HR: Max 172 Avg 149 

11-june-06   23 miles in approx 2 hrs (with stops) gentle skating at Lower Huron, Willow and oakwood metroparks with Vicki and Shawna. HR: Max 180 Avg 155

12-June-06   Rest Day

13-June -06  Waterskiing - now that's what I call fun cross training!!!

14-June-06    Rest Day   

kjg's picture

KJG A2A Training Week 2

15-June-06    11 miles in 52 minutes (short stop) at Willow and Oakwood Metropark. HR: Max 180 Avg 163 - felt like I couldn't get my legs moving.

16-June-06    Rest day

17-June-06    13 miles in 1 hour at Hines Drive. HR: Max 190 Avg 176 - Hot!   

eebee's picture

Skating on your own?

Regarding your training log, KJG, are you skating mostly on your own, or mostly with others, or about half/half? Interesting that your heart rate was higher on the hot day. I find this happens with me also. Perhaps the terrain on Hines Dr. may be hillier than at Oakwood Metropark.

kjg's picture

Mostly with others..

I was trying to list who I was skating with in my log, but mostly I skate with others.

Helps with the motivation factor.

I have had lots of rest days recently due to life getting in the way. Those would have been the days that i probably would have skated alone and maybe done more techniquw drills.


kjg's picture

KJG A2A Training week 2 Contd.

Sorry for multiple post - could not edit the original week 2.

18 - June - 06    23 miles with Martin at Lower Huron, Willow and Oakwood. No data because I forgot to bring my HRM. It was windy but I felt strong. No drafting today.

19- June - 06     Rest

20- june -06       Rest

21- june - 06      Rest

kjg's picture

Week 3

Sorry for the delay in posting!

22-June-06 Willow and Oakwood, some intervals trying to get lower and more power from my push. 11 miles in 1 hour. max 183 avg 155 

23-June-06 Willow and Oakwood with friends on skates and bikes more social pace. 11 miles. no HRM

24-June-06  Hines drive on my own. 26 miles in 2 hours 20 with long stops to talk to coworker . max 182 avg 158 

25-June-06  23 miles at Lower Huron, Willow and Oakwood. Drafting. Lots of skate boot pain. max 180 avg 152

26-June-06 Rest

27-June-06 WaterSkiing - more cross training

28-June-06 memory loss! I think the weather was bad

29-June-06 ditto. May have gone running

30-june-06 rest

Week 4 July 1st - July 9th I was on vacation at the lake waterskiing daily (some days twice per day) and running on two days. I went for a short 6 mile skate on one of the days.

Getting scared about inmpending trip to Holland - Elfstedentocht - 240km in 3 days! 



kjg's picture

Catch up!

I have been hugely dilinquent in updating this, although fortunately not in training! Unfortunately my GPS broke so I am lacking in data. My basic routine through the summer has been:

Monday - rest

Tuesday - skate 20 ish miles in the park

wednesday - freestyle practice (slalom)

Thursday - skbike 26 miles

Friday - rest

Saturday - Hines Drive 26 or 39 miles

Sunday - 26 in the park.

The week of July 21st I skated the Elfstedentocht - 137 miles in 4 days and then the Sundy august 6th did 60 miles in Midland MI.

With 4 weeks left to T2T and 7 weeks to A2A I added in a Monday night interval spinning session...hopefully that will pay off!

I am feeling much stronger than this time last year but we will see......


eebee's picture

Right way around

"I have been hugely dilinquent in updating this, although fortunately not in training!"


Way to prioritize!

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