Why Speed Skating?

Speed skating, in the San Francisco area?

 The “San Francisco Bay Area” is not what jumps to mind when you think of speed skating.

For most of us, speed skating is something you might see every four year during the winter Olympics. The upcoming 2018 Olympics will feature one of the strongest US Teams we have had in years, so we expect some good TV coverage. If you’re old enough, you remember Apolo Anton Ohno, or Bonnie Blair or Eric Heiden from years ago, or you saw Shani Davis when he was featured on the Colbert Report in 2010.


Greg and Mary Wong started the current speed skating club in 1988 and it’s still going strong with two weekly speed skating sessions: Saturdays in Oakland and Sundays in San Jose. You can check the club website for information how to contact them directly.

So, why speed skating?

Some people just want to skate fast.  That’s what we hear when people say they want to try it.

Speed skating can provide a very hard work-out in a short period of time. It’s not just about building great back and leg muscles. The workouts I design for Northern California Speedskating focus on interval workouts which train both the aerobic and anaerobic systems, improving endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Interval training has been shown to be one of the most beneficial types of workouts.
This article from verywell has more information.
In fact, speed skating ranks up there with uphill biking or running in terms of benefit to aerobic conditioning.

Speed skating is technical. Skating efficiently requires attention to proper technique. Even the best skaters in the world go back-to-basics during their workouts to master their technique. Athletes come from cycling, rowing, hockey, or skiing to learn speed skating, to find out the secrets of speed.

The benefits of speed skating are similar to what is shown in this article about cross country skiing, except for the difference in the use of the arms in the two sports.

Speed skating is fun.  If skaters are smiling while complaining about how hard the workout is, this coach is happy.

The US Olympic Committee has joined many sport governing bodies around the world to promote greater emphasis on getting people into sports that last a lifetime. I have attended their training program. My training follows their athlete development model that recommends a focus on the learning to enjoy sports as part of a health lifestyle. Speed skating is a sport that people do at all ages, from beginner to age-group world competitions, from tiny tots to Masters groups. Skaters don’t ask each other how old they are. They ask what age group they compete in.