I have been an athlete for a very long time. Since I started playing soccer in elementary school, I can’t think of a time in my life when I wasn’t working out in some way. Sure, I’ve had injuries and had to rest, but I never stopped working towards some sort of fitness goal.
Despite my long history of sports and fitness, I am not that motivated to work out most of the time. I have trouble getting up early, I get drawn into a book or TV show and don’t feel like working out.
However, this lazy side of me is almost always conquered. How, you ask? I have a plan. If I woke up every day and wasn’t sure what I was going to do to workout, I would just never workout as much as I need. Just like my coaches in high school and college did for me, I create a plan for myself. This plan usually revolves around the roller derby season, and keeps me developing as an athlete. Below, I have briefly outlined my general plan, in regards to the derby season:
- Pre-season: building endurance and base strength
- Mid-season: shift focus to agility/plyos, but continue light endurance and strength
- Playoffs (and maybe Champs!): be as fresh as possible for all bouts. No amount of lifting or endurance will be super beneficial now, so just maintaining what you’ve already built for yourself is great.
Keep in mind – I am a jammer. I try not to worry myself with just being strong, but being strong and agile and fast. You can’t train for a marathon and a weight lifting competition at the same time- these endeavors will work against themselves. Similarly for derby -you have to find the elements that are most important for you, and focus on those.
I like to do as much strength training as I can on a Bosu ball to work on my balance.
I try to build a lot of strength at the beginning of the season, when having tired muscles during practices is not as detrimental. However, if you continue to have tired muscles during mid-season practices when you need to hone your derby skills, this can only be a disadvantage. I need to be fresh during scrimmages so I can try new things, work on agility moves, and see what I am actually capable of. If not, I will never know what I can do during bouts!
Similarly with endurance. By all means, run 8-10 miles on Saturday morning! Bike for 2 hours on Tuesday evening! Build that endurance that you will need to keep you moving on those tournament weekends. However, understand what kind of strain this puts on your body. Once you are in mid-season, you have to cut back on intense endurance workouts so your legs can fully recover for bouts.
It is SO SILLY to work out super hard to make yourself awesome at roller derby and then waste it by going into a bout tired. What is the point of all of that work you put in if you never get to use it?!
Back to my point… Having a plan.
Every month or so, I map out a rough workout plan for the next 4 weeks. I write in my bouts, my travel plans, the events I have for that month, and then write in reasonable workouts every day of those 4 weeks (Don’t forget your rest days!!). As a general rule, you should workout hard for about 3-4 weeks and then have one week where you go a bit lighter with everything you do. This helps you avoid injuries by not increasing your fitness volume too quickly.
Here’s a picture of my training plan. Notice all the scribbled out workouts…I tend to change my mind frequently.
Having a 4 week plan helps you see the bigger picture. It helps you feel like you are staying on track and continuing to improve, even though it might not feel like it. It also helps you roll out of bed in the morning and get that workout done (since you know exactly what you have to do that day).
It is important to note that this is just a plan. Plans change. Maybe I wake up one day and just feel crappy. That 10x100m sprint workout is just not going to happen. That’s ok! Mark it out on your calendar and do something else. If you get that workout in on another day, great! If not, that’s ok too. Working out is both physical and mental. Listen to your body!