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Making Double Push Just an Ordinary Part of Normal Skating

roadskater's picture
I guess the thing I'd like to see happen for me in 2008 would be for double pushing to just be a natural part of my skating whenever it is the most efficient way to go. Making it more efficient and thus more useful more of the time would be the key. I'd like it to be a tool, or a couple of tools, that I can use involuntarily, I guess you'd say. I'd like it to be like shifting gears in the car without thinking.

[This is a reply to eebee's forum post, http://roadskater.net/index.php?q=skate-08-how-are-you-going-to-spend-yo..., which I blogged so it would be caught by the weblog RSS feeds some of you read. Also, I don't seem to be able to find an address for Country Park that pins it on the map; I know nobody is bothered by that the way I am!]

This is where the 1.6 mile faded painted line in Country Park comes in, I think. It's a great place to try some repetitive things, though I'd add that the rolling hills make the constant repetition thing more difficult. Too bad they rubberized so many tracks around here. I'd give that a go despite my thinking every lap is a chance to quit, because skating on the flat seems a the best way to work on and focus on form.

Regarding the balance of classic vs. double push time, I think there are circumstances where classic push, just the normal ice speedskating outer push, is best. I know lots of times we seem to end up classic pushing out on the road where conserving energy and heartbeats for the long haul seems the most important thing.

As previously discussed, the best situations for classic push seem the ones most like indoor ice...low friction (smooth road, new wheels) and no noticeable wind (or trailing wind). Let's not forget indoor short track (and wood-floor skating rinks), where the surface is smooth and fast. I know some can make effective use of double push indoors, but I think it's mostly only two chances per lap when you "throw a left" after coming off the last crossover out of the turn. If you watch ice short track you can see it's about getting very low and snapping that extension of the leg powerfully, among other things like ballet skills and other trickery!

[If only we had wooden-floor INDOOR LONG TRACK! That would be super-sweet. The old Sears warehouse comes to mind, out between Lawndale and the train track that some century may become a ribbon of asphalt from downtown to Strawberry Road and beyond.]

For me, I can do that double push thing, and sometimes I can feel the benefit of it, like on worn wheels or slightly rough pavement (not gatorback) or on a moderately windy day.

Some ways I think of it work better for me than others (the subject for another day), and some days it goes better than others. I certainly have come a long way with that from the days I used to just go off into the woods while learning some of it. I remember once just zipping right off the trail in Pinellas while skating along with Kim P. I think she found that a lot funnier than she ever let on! I don't see how she managed not to totally lose her cookies, in fact, because it was extremely funny to me even while being horrifyingly embarrassing.

But as I've said elsewhere, I'm not sure I get enough out of the double push a lot of days to make it worth the heartbeats it costs. That's where efficiency comes in, and having several styles of double pushing available, perhaps, would help (the sprinty costly one and an efficient and more subtle one).

Some years I've done interval training and that definitely makes it easier to pull out the tools when you need them, then settle back into normal for most of the day. But I'm also talking about having a little DP in almost all my skating, and training my mind to think of it more often, and to focus on it in training in the way that I know works best, instead of falling into thinking of it in other ways that don't click as well for me...and to repeat that successful feeling over and over and over.

One of the things I've wanted to try, and maybe some new hardware will help with that, is to do laps on a track focusing on classic one time, on a more active double push another, and a more calm double push another, comparing the speed and heartrate info as best as possible, admitting how impossible it is to do any such test fairly.

For now, I'd say double pushing works for me mostly in one situation...where I'm behind and want to sprint briefly to catch up. There's a spot in Country Park after the switchback we do around the flag pole, after a little dip there's a little rise and the wind usually comes off the ponds into your face there. That usually seems like a good place to get lower and use body weight properly and try a bit of it.

I want to work on getting a little DP into most of the skating I do, using hip and/or shoulder weight variously out past the outside edge of the underpush, plus respect my left ankle which seems in good shape after a rest, work on crossovers to the left and especially the right, remember to get low especially when I need power because of how that helps with extending the leg fruitfully, and more. I also need to "make" myself work harder on some days and get back to skating up the trail so I can get a bit more climbing in (it would help if the City of Greensboro would work on the existing greenway where the roots of the lovely trees have undermined the asphalt on Old Battleground Road.

One goal is to find a good route that has blistering uphills with safe downhills back down to repeat the blistering uphills. I could probably go for that a day or two a week. Maybe something around Northwood will work, not sure. I'll update if I find a good loop.

But the most important part, the part I absolutely MUST REPEAT 600 TIMES is the fun, the feeling of love I feel when the wind, sun, rain, hills, sky, trees, flowers, farms, horses, smiling cows, muscles and gravity all blend in that beautiful way. If I can repeat that feeling often enough, my skating will be great. ["And I'm almost dead with uncontrollable light, And sometimes when I've written a song...it's all right! --Ian Hunter]


Greensboro Country Park
4400 Lawndale Dr
Greensboro, North Carolina 27455
United States
36° 7' 27.2388" N, 79° 50' 1.7088" W


roadskater's picture

Zippity Code Dah

OK I have imported zip codes for the United States into the database and that means if you put in a zip under the Location section, you'll get a map pin in the general area. If you put in a recognized address, the system should recognize that and give a geolocation, too, but not all addresses seem to catch. I used the map when editing the article to place the map pin, and that worked, improving on the location provided by the zip code alone, of course. A lot of this is stuff I'm working on for another project for a skater with a software business who is having me build his site. Why do it? Well, the idea is that your story may have a location or locations associated with it. Some people will want to find information verbally, by using the search or by clicking on "places" tags you provide. Others like to look at stories on a map, to see what stories are near their area of interest. For this, they can look at: http://roadskater.net/index.php?q=map/node It will take time for this to build up, but over time it can hopefully be useful to skaters and would-be skaters out there looking for something to do, somewhere to skate or bike, someone to skate or bike with. So that's the update, including a bit of the why behind it. I have the German postal code info as well, but think I'll wait on that one! Wish I had the UK data.
eebee's picture

Sounds like a challenge!

That sounds like a fun, but arduous challenge. At least you can already 'do it'. The way I'd go about it would be just to skate that way all the time, terrain permitting, and just let my heart rate sort itself out, but I'm not sure that's the best way to do it. Based on what I read in the Lance Armstrong Performance Program book about hr training, Lance, along with Chris Carmichael, recommended not blowing yourself up constantly on impossible hills each time you go out and train hills. So based on that, maybe gradually incorporating some stretches of DP into your usual loop, graduating up to DPing all the way up the trail to Bur-Mil - without ditching into the pond on those bends :-). That'd be a serious calorie-burn!

So you've done the 600 reps necessary to cement the move in your brain and muscles, so I guess to get to the point where you automatically DP whenever you're out skating would take...what...600 times out skating? Wow, there's a thought...could you DP 600 strokes in a row? I'd love to try that too but at this point I'm not sure I'm even doing it properly at all.

roadskater's picture

600 Skaters Crossing the Finish Line

Previous experiments indicate I cannot even count to 600 without falling asleep!

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