Watching rollerbladers moving down the streets and pavements is a common occurrence indeed. But many people also use tracks for training or even serious races and marathons on the rollerblades. Many people use rollerblading on tracks as a cross-training regimen to exercise their muscles and develop necessary skills for an extreme sport. If you are a long-distance runner, training on rollerblades can give your body a constructive break to develop cardio strength and strengthen your muscles. Many famous rollerblade brands offer a variety of skates to accommodate such fitness goals for people with differing abilities and skills.
But the million-dollar question is that can you rollerblade on a track? If you have been practicing rollerblading for a while, you should know that many of the supporting organizations including Skater’s Quest organize annual rollerblading events where skaters of differing skills and experience compete to run a marathon on skates on the tracks [source].
Rollerblading on tracks can give your quadriceps, glutes, adductors, abductors, calves, and shins a real good workout. Your postural muscles including the abs and back get a good workout too. Not to mention rollerblading on wheels can be a hell of a challenge even for the pros. The tracks are slow, you should know the right rollerblades to put on regarding the wheel size, hardness, and much more. So, let’s figure out what it takes to rollerblade on tracks.
Training on Wheels on a Track
Rollerblading can serve as a two-way meet when it comes to fitness and cross-training for a sport . Almost all semi-fit recreational skaters can easily run a marathon on skates if trained well. However, rolling on tracks may not be the same as rollerblading in the rinks or pavements. Consider it more like going up a slight inclination which can slow, exhausting, and discouraging. So, you train well before you hit the tracks on wheels to develop muscular strength, ensure cardiovascular conditioning, maintain endurance and develop necessary flexibility.
Plan a Balanced Training Program
A balanced training program should include primary activities that can help develop muscle strength, flexibility, endurance and improve cardiovascular conditioning. Many skaters focus more on cardiovascular conditioning alone when it comes to covering more miles on wheels. They almost forget the importance of physical strength and muscular endurance. However, in order to maximize your rollerblading experience on the tracks, your training components must target your core, back, and leg muscles as well. A complete training regimen will help you stay strong, run fast, remain comfortable, and avoid injuries.
Improve Cardiovascular Conditioning
Cardiovascular conditioning tells how your heart and lungs respond during strength training activities and extreme sports. The primary goal of cardiovascular conditioning is to improve the functioning of your heart and lungs while you roll on the tracks in a pair of rollerblades. Skaters are advised to gradually increase the distance skated to improve cardiovascular endurance.
However, you also need to keep a check at the appropriate intensity level required for rollerblading on tracks. Always monitor your heart rate to verify if you are skating at an appropriate intensity. You should plan your training sessions within the appropriate training zone considering your age as well as the current fitness level.
Your training sessions may include cross-training sports activities such as running, swimming, and cycling to improve overall cardiovascular endurance. A training regimen involving different methods will ensure well-rounded conditioning and provide positive training effects expected from each additional exercise.
You can try different resistance exercises to condition your muscles for strength. Exercises such as free weights, resistance bands, nautilus, and bodyweight push-ups/pull-ups can help you build muscular strength and endurance. Rollerblading automatically targets the muscles of your legs, hips, gluteus, and core. These muscle groups can be engaged for longer durations without feeling tired with additional strength training.
The strength of your upper body and core is extremely important for correct posture and balance, therefore, you should include appropriate strength-training exercises to target these areas. Regular strength-training exercises such as one-foot squat stride can help in stabilizing joints and assist in the prevention of potential injuries.
You can evaluate flexibility by the range of motion and freedom of movement in your muscles and joints connecting your muscle groups. Muscles are elastic and flexible by nature, but the flexibility decreases as you age because of a lack of consistency.
Rollerblading itself can help in building muscles of the buttocks and quadriceps, tightening the opposing hamstrings muscles, and strengthening the muscles of lower back and hips. A regular flexibility routine is key to ensuring flexibility. Flexibility in the muscles helps rollerbladers in maintaining efficient posture and facilitating balance while in motion.
Training exercises such as Pilates, yoga posture, and traditional athletic stretches can help in improving flexibility. Make sure to spend enough time on a daily basis to improve this area of fitness to ensure a stronger, balanced skating experience. Focus on the lower body muscles in the foot, ankle, quads, legs, calves, Patellar tendon, adductors, hamstrings, spine, Dorsi, hip flexors, Iliopsoas, Trapezius, Iliotibial band, Piriformis, and Gluteus Maximus. Try to hold a stretch for each targeted muscle for at least 3 to 10 seconds before relaxing that muscle. Repeat the drill on each side.
Getting Prepared to Rollerblade on Tracks
Before you ever plan to hit the tracks for rollerblading, there are some things you should know. Primarily, it is about preparing yourself for rollerblading on tracks. Here are some suggestions on how to get the most from long-distance rollerblading on a track [source]:
- Get primary lessons. You should understand that rollerblading on track may not be the same as rollerblading on a street for fun. You should know if your skating levels, form, and muscular strength allow you to rollerblade on long-distance tracks. You can get some training sessions for upgrading your skill level.
- Prepare your gear. It does not include just a pair of rollerblades but also your safety equipment. Get branded, certified helmet along with knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. Check your rollerblades for signs of wear and tear before you roll down a track. Wear brighter colors to ensure good visibility for the others on the track.
- Stay hydrated. Monitor your hydration levels during your training sessions as well as actual rollerblading on track. Also, ensure that you urinate every 2-4 hours throughout a day. Ideally, the urine of a healthy athlete is light in color, sometimes turbid, and in significant quantity. In case, you notice a darker color in your urine, it is an indication that your body is not hydrated well. Drink more water and intake vitamins to ensure healthy hydration.
up according to the climate. Wear snug-fitting clothing to ensure
better dynamics and avoid flapping in the wind. It is wise to check
the weather report before you plan a day for rollerblading on a
track to efficiently sort out appropriate clothing to wear. Do not
forget to warm up before the actual chase. Here are some suggestions
to dress up for rollerblading according to temperature:
- Wear long-sleeve bike jersey during a temperature of 33 to 45 degrees. Pair it up with long underpants. You can wear a thermal vest for insulation as well as to protect from the wind. Wear tights under your shorts for further protection.
- Long-sleeve jerseys with long underpants work well during the lower end temperatures between 46 to 60 degrees. If the temperature reaches close to 60 degrees, you can wear moisture-wicking t-shirts and short-sleeved jerseys. Wearing a vest during rollerblading is always a good idea. You can easily take it off when it gets too hot. Skip the tights. Knee and leg warmers are recommended for the legs.
- Wear a long-sleeve jersey or a comfy t-shirt during the lower end temperatures between 61 to 75 degrees. Short-sleeved jersey and moisture-wicking t-shirts work best for temperatures above 65 degrees. Some skaters prefer a cotton t-shirt. Pair them up with Spandex or snug athletic shorts to ensure optimum support and utmost comfort.
Wear a comfortable, high-quality pair of socks to keep your feet relaxed during long-distance rollerblading sessions.
- Snack on a lighter pre-race meal. You can have a bagel with peanut butter, a cup of coffee, some water, or a can of sports drink. Grab a healthy protein bar full of carbohydrates for easy digestion. Your pre-race meal does not have to be anything different that you can easily consume and accustomed to eating.
- Tracks are often not open to public use. Take prior permission before you plan to rollerblade on tracks.
What should I do if I or any other skater encounter an accident in between the track? Act responsibly. Stop and help. Report the matter to the responsible authorities as easily as you can. Here are some rules that you should remember while rollerblading:
- You cannot rollerblade on roads with a median strip divider, multi-lane route, or with a speed limit above 50 km/hour.
- You are expected to stay on the left side of the road as a predictable behavior and must maintain appropriate distance with the peer skaters, vehicles, or walking pedestrians.
- You are expected to obey the rules of the road.