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Training for an Inline Skate Marathon


The North Shore Inline Marathon is the largest inline skating event in the USA. If you are into fitness skating, this is the premire event to attend! The NSIM has several events for all ability levels; half marathon 13.1 mi, full marathon 26.2 mi and a kids 1/4 mile sprint. The various races take place in beatiful Dututh MN next to Lake Superior, the location is ideal for inline skating. For more event information click HERE. For information on training for an inline skating marathon read the guide below.




Even if you are not currently interested in participating in an inline skating race but still believe inline skating may be a way to meet, or even exceed your health and fitness goals, please keep reading!  An inilne skating marathon is something most semi-fit recreational skaters can accomplish. The following is some basic information you can use to develop a workout plan that will cover all areas of fitness - cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility.


Developing a Balanced Training Program

A balanced training program for any sport should include activities that improve cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility.  For sports that inherently require cardiovascular endurance for success, such as long distance skating, it can be tempting to focus soley on the cardiovascular component of  “getting more miles in” and ignore the importance of strength and flexibility training.  However, when it comes to skating long distances, such as an inline marathon (26.2 miles/ ~42 km) the importance of building muscular strength, endurance, and increasing flexibility, especially in the back and legs, should not be overlooked.  Making regular time for all training components will maximize your overall skating experience by making you stronger, faster, more comfortable, and likely free from injury as well.


The following is a suggested training program aimed at the beginner-intermediate level skater.  It can be used for skate training in general or specifically as a guideline for preparing to skate an inline marathon.  Please adjust skating workouts according to skating ability, fitness level, and weeks left until race. 



Training Component Basics


Cardiovascular Conditioning

Cardiovascular conditioning, which includes improving the function of both the heart and lungs, is integral for the success of a distance skater.  As the distance skated increases, cardiovascular endurance should improve.  However, it is important to train at the appropriate intensity level.  If skating at an intensity that is too low, endurance may increase very little.  It is also possible to train at too high of intensity as well.  One way to ensure that you are training at the appropriate intensity is to monitor your heart rate and train within the appropriate training zone based on your age and current fitness level.  


X-training includes other activities or sports that will build your cardiovascular endurance such as running, cycling, swimming, etc.  Including different training methods will allow you to take advantage of the positive training effects of each additional exercise and helps to ensure well-rounded conditioning.


Strength Training

Conditioning muscles for strength is accomplished through variety of resistance exercises.  Free weights, nautilus, resistance bands, and even your own body weight (push-ups, pull-ups, etc) can be used to build muscle strength and endurance.  While skating automatically builds the muscles of the legs, hips and gluteus, these muscles are further developed and can be engaged for longer periods of time without tiring, when there is additional strength training.  Since upper body and core strength is also important for balance and skating posture, development of these areas should also be included in your strength training routine.  Strength training regularly will stabilize joints and in turn can assist in injury prevention.


Check out the One Foot Squat Stride video below. This is a great exercie to do at the end of your training day to gain extra leg strength.



Flexibility Training

Flexibility can be defined as the range of motion and/or freedom of movement of a joint over which a muscle or group of muscles span.  Muscles are flexible and elastic by nature, but in most cases flexibility decreases with age and also with lack of consistency.


Skating generally builds muscles in the quadriceps and the buttocks while tightening the opposing muscles of the hamstrings, as well as the muscles or the hips and lower back.  The key to maintaining flexibility is to engage in a regular flexibility routine.  In skating, being flexible allows us to maintain efficient posture and can facilitate our balance while moving.  Flexibility can be improved through traditional athletic stretches, Pilates, and yoga postures. 


Spending some time daily to improve each area of fitness will lead to a stronger and more balanced skating experience.  Before you know it you will be healthier, happier, and more prepared for the next race or for whatever else that may roll your way!


The stetches below will work the following parts of your lower body; Foot, Ankle, Leg & Calve, Quads & Patellar Tendon, Adductors, Hip Flexors & Iliopsoas, Hamstring, Spine, Dorsi, Trapezius, Iliotibial Band, Gluteus Maximus & Piriformis,   Stretches should be performed by holding the stretch for each target muscle for 3 to 10 seconds, relaxing that muscle, then repeating for a total of 10 repetitions on each side.


Other Important Information

Water:  Stay hydrated well before the actual marathon. It’s a good idea to monitor your hydration throughout training and especially the week before the actual race. You should urinate every two to four hours throughout the day. Your urine should be light in color, like lemonade, but not clear and in significant quantity. If your urine is dark you need to drink more water. Vitamin intake can change the color of your urine, so the most important thing is to keep downing the water several times a day.


Gear: Helmets are a must! Rollerblade® brand helmets or any CPSC certified bike helmet will do fine.  Knee, elbow & wrist guards are a good idea too. Check out Rollerblade® protective gear HERE. Wear bright colors—good for visibility on training days out on the road!


Clothing: Inline skating incurs similar wind and weather climate to cycling. Cycling type clothing works well when skating. Sung fitting clothing is the best option, it’s more arrow dynamic and doesn’t flap in the wind. Check out Rollerblade® clothing here HERE.

Weather: Check the weather report for race day and sort out what clothing to wear. You should be slightly chilly pre-race. Realize you will warm up quickly while skating.


Suggestions on What to Wear According to Temperature:

33 to 45 Degrees - Long-sleeve bike jersey or long underwear style top. For insulation wear a light thermal vest—which you can strip off during hard efforts. A vest is key for wind protection. To keep your legs wear some tights or long underwear bottoms under your shorts.


46 to 60 Degrees - Long-sleeve jerseys or long underwear work well at the lower end temps. Short-sleeved jerseys or moisture wicking T-shirt are recommended at temperatures near 60 degrees. It's a good idea to start your skate wearing a vest; if you get too hot, you can simply take it off and stuff it into a pocket. For your legs, either knee or leg warmers will work, but you should skip the tights.


61 to 75 Degrees - Start out with a long sleeve jersey or T-shirt at the lower end temps. Take the long sleeve jersey or T-shirt off as you warm up on chilly days. A short sleeve jersey or moisture wicking T-shirt should be ideal above 65 degrees. Some prefer a cotton T-shirt, it depends on your personal preference. Wear snug athletic shorts or Spandex if you want optimum support and comfort.


Socks: Good socks are important part of keeping your feet comfortable, especially on long distant skate sessions. Rollerblade® makes high quality socks that are perfect for all types of skating. Check out our socks and other clothing HERE.


Pre race meal: Pre race meal should be the same as what the skaters has eaten before any long skates.   A bagel with peanut butter, some water, coffee or some kind of sports drink. A good protein bar that has carbohydrates that can be easily digested.  People think that pre race meals have to be something different, but the important thing is that they chose something that they are accustomed to eating and not try something new on race day.







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