Saturday, March 24, 2012

DID IT!! Hard work pays off!

After five months of diligent training, I am proud to say that I successfully finished my first official 10K last weekend!  The girl who, last October,  despised running a mile (and hadn't done so in at least seven years) ran 6.2 miles of torturous hills in JUST over an hour. Oh how I want those 24 seconds back!  What a great experience it was to race in front of thousands of people willing you on when you think you're too tired to go on, and what a completely different experience from a skating competition.  I was always one of those skaters who gets sick to their stomach the morning of competition, and let nerves get the best of me. Those of you at 2007 Nationals can attest to that!  Before the race, I was so pumped for it to start, and couldn't wait for it to begin.  What a different feeling for me!

People may be thinking, why is she writing this on a skating blog?  The key word is: MOTIVATION.  I set a goal that I thought would never be attainable, trained relentlessly through the winter, and never gave up on myself, even when my quads turned into jelly with each 1/2 mile I added to my training. I want to prove to all of you skaters out there that hard work pays off. When your coach tells you to do that double run through, DO IT.  There is a point to it, even if your tired and don't think you have any energy left to expend.  The more you train, the more consistent you will be, and the less tired you will be come competition.  Oh how I wish I had the attitude that I have now when I was sixteen years old.  I had so much potential that was untapped because I didn't have the fight and drive to push myself, even though my coach tried her hardest. (Oh how I must have frustrated you Lisa!)

To those skaters out there who want to improve and want to compete at your best: set goals. Work towards achieving them.  Don't be lazy and push yourself. It always pays off in the end, and the feeling you get when you succeed is AWESOME!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The People Behind Sk8Strong.....

For those of you new to Sk8Strong and discovering this blog, I'd like to fill you in on my background and let you know how Sk8Strong came to life. My name is Lauren Downes, and I am a proud mother of two, an orthopedic physical therapist, and professional skating instructor. I graduated with a masters degree in physical therapy from Boston University in 1999, and have worked in a sports medicine ever since.  Since the year 2000, I have worked with skaters in a strength and conditioning capacity, conducting evaluative assessments, private and group training.  I have been fortunate to work with skaters from a very low level to senior competitive level, as off-ice training is important for all ages and levels of skaters.

Sk8Strong began taking shape in the spring of 2008, when a terrific strength and conditioning specialist, Steve Conca, approached me about putting together some training videos for skaters.  After months of preparation, the first series of Sk8Strong DVDs were born, and we've been going strong ever since.  Starting out with four training DVDs, we've added three additional videos since, and there's always room for more!

My goal is to be accessible to all skating parents and coaches who want to learn the benefits of proper off-ice training, and how to deal with injuries in the correct manner.  I am always available by phone or email, and through seminars and workshops, and love sharing my expertise with those who want to learn.