Welcome! My name is Michael Gilday and I am a Short Track Speedskater from Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. I currently train at the National Training Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I've created this blog primarily to let family and friends know about competitions and travel. I also hope to educate a bit about short track and maybe even entertain. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Testing and an Interesting Interview...

On Wednesday we did some testing to see where we are physically. But first of all let me set this up a bit. The testing we do is done on the bike. We do this because doing the test on the bike is closer in terms of muscles and systems used to skating than the other way of doing the tests we did, which is running on a treadmill. We haven’t been on the bike much lately, obviously because we have been on ice training and competing, and I wouldn’t say we do a lot of biking except for at the beginning of the season, but we do a lot more biking than running. It’s obviously not a perfect situation, but as long as we do the same thing each time, we should get accurate results.

The tests that we did were an incremental bike test and a maximum aerobic power (MAP) test. The incremental bike test works like this. You jump on the bike (no ordinary bike, this is a teched out exercise bike called the velotron) and start spinning. Before any resistance is put on, your finger is pricked and your blood lactate levels are checked. As long as your blood lactate is under 2mmol, you are ready to go. A load is then dropped on (resistance). For myself, I start this test at 200 watts. Each three minutes, the resistance is increased by 25 watts and blood lactates are checked. When your blood lactate level reaches 6mmol, the test is over. This normally takes about 20 minutes give or take a couple minutes depending on the person.

The MAP test works as follows. On the same bike you start spinning. A load is put on. The difference here is that the load goes up 25W each minute instead of each three minutes. After about 8 minutes of this your are hurting really badly. This is where you try to push through. The test is done when you can’t finish a minute at a load. So for example if you start at 200W after 8 minutes you will have completed the 375W stage. The wattage is then upped to 400, and if you can’t complete a minute at this load, your test is over and you will have finished at 375W.

These tests have various applications to our training and the results are analyzed by our coach and our strength coach. They are then able to make inferences about our target heart rates for different aspects of training such as recovery and the development of our aerobic systems.

This round of tests was done at a time when we were in a fairly hard training block and as such we would have expected our results to be down a bit. But some people increased and most were similar to previous testing results. This is a good sign for everyone and shows that we are doing the right things even though the training we have been doing lately isn’t specific to the method in which the tests were performed (biking).

After finishing that hard training block yesterday, we are now heading in to a recovery week before we head off to the next set of World Cups in Asia a week from today. I will have more on that later this week, but I know that everyone is looking forward to competing again.

On a completely unrelated note, I watch an interview on the news the other day with Melissa Fung, a CBC journalist who was held captive in Afghanistan for three weeks. As I watched this interview, I was really amazed with the way Fung answered all of the questions. Despite the fact that she had been held in a hole in the ground for three weeks, she didn’t ever speak badly of her captors. She was calm and composed the whole time and answered all the questions in a very introspective way. The way she spoke about knowing she would survive and the mental fortitude she had really blew me away. It was an amazing interview and if you have the time I suggest you check it out. You can find it here. If the link doesn’t work, you should be able to find it on the CBC website.

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