Posts Tagged ‘sprints’

When we train for hockey it is to improve our performance in hockey. Because while hockey players may utilize powerlifting, Olympic lifting, sprints and other types of training in their efforts to improve it is always for the purpose of:
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On the weekend I joined a couple of friends and we ran some sprints on some sand dunes here in town. Now running sprints are hard to do at the best of times but these dunes were crazy. There were three of us doing the workout and after warming up properly we set out to climb to the top. We took turns with the first guy going as far as he could, then the second guy to the same point and the third guy joining the pack. You may advance 30-50 meters at a time depending on which segment of the climb we were on, the steepness at that point plus how deep the sand was. You have to picture a very fine, silty sand where your entire foot sinks with each step. And as you fatigue and the time your foot is in contact with the ground lengthens your foot sinks more.

As you are doing the climb the discomfort is divided between your lungs and legs. It’s hard to distinguish which is more compromised between your fitness and your strength. As you finish each segment your lungs are on fire and your legs have difficulty doing what the mind is requesting.

So what does this all have to with hockey training? What lessons can be learned here that can help you? Well here are a couple of insights I gained which should help you as you begin your off-season training program.

1. Your off-season training program is about you. When we arrived at the dunes my friends were pulling on weighted vests to do the workout. When I saw this I decided I would pull out some of the weights from my vest. Why would I do this? Well I had never done this climb before. Actually I hadn’t done any hill, stair or sand dune climbing of any kind yet this off-season so I wasn’t about to do the first one as the most aggressive one with the added load of a weighted vest.

Could I have done the climb with all the weights in the vest? Maybe. Might it have been too much? Hard to say. What I do know is that by easing into this training I will give my body a better chance today, tomorrow and the next time I challenge the dunes.

2. It’s better to do 10% too little than 1% too much. Training is about creating a stimulus that the body reacts to and improves as a result. We have thresholds related to the amount of stimulus we can handle. Too much stimulus and the body reacts in negative way and impairs future training. Not enough of a stimulus and there is an insignificant response which results in minimal improvement or none at all. We need to be smart about our training to determine what our thresholds are. We can do this objectively through assessments such as a lactate threshold or VO2 max or subjectively through a rate of perceived exertion.

Determining your threshold is a difficult thing to do because it involves assessments, tracking workouts and being honest with yourself during training. There is a difference between holding up during training because you don’t like hard work and want the easy way out and holding back on a set because you know it is simply too much for you at that time.

That’s where the concept of 10% too little and 1% too much comes from. By doing 1% too much you will exceed the capacity of the system. You will push the training to the point where the physical demands exceeds the ability of the body to recover. As a result the body will respond accordingly which will compromise future days of training. And with off-season training you are looking to accomplish the bulk of your gains, growth and improvement during this time so any interruptions in training are that much more costly.

So as you begin your off-season training remember your training is about you, your needs and goals and your abilities. There are times where competition during the training process can be healthy and bring out the best in you. But remember to listen to your body, take some time for thorough assessments, chart your progress and to push to the limits your body will allow.