I didn’t even know what cross training was until I started getting into roller derby. Noted Wikipedia scholars say cross-training refers to “an athlete training in sports other than the one that athlete competes in with a goal of improving overall performance”.
So when I first started doing roller derby, this concept made absolute sense to me. As a raw meatie (a phrase some in the derby community call people who are brand spankin’ new to derby), I realized very quickly that I couldn’t even pick up my skates without getting tired immediately. Roller skating is a lot different when you’re not a kid anymore. So I ran, and ran, and ran some more. I went to the gym for the first time in months. I ate clean, and never felt better. I even started playing a bit of soccer. I saw my skill level increase dramatically in a very short time.
Fast forward to a few months ago. The mental and physical drain of boot camp made it feel impossible to do anything other than skate at practice and then maybe do an occasional open skate on my own. Looking back, I don’t think it was a coincidence that I eventually hit a plateau in my basic skill level. I kicked it into high gear again right before try-outs, but during my probationary period practicing with the league before the draft I hit another plateau.
This was not good. I started feeling like shit, like I wasn’t trying hard enough. My shin splints were so bad that I would cry and alternately feel numb and seering pain shooting through my legs. Eventually I decided enough was enough – that this just wasn’t “how my body worked” or some lame shit like that. I figured the least I could do was try to cross train again and see if that would make things better.
And holy crap did it. The Demoncats (my beloved beautiful feline team) requires us to cross-train on days we don’t have practice, but I kicked it up a notch and I go for runs during lunch. Not only is this good for my sanity to get the fuck out of the office and away from a desk, but it makes my days go by better and it does wonders for my energy level. I’ve only had mild shin splints and my hits are getting (a little?) harder because my core is stronger. Now I’m just trying to figure out something else I can do to cross-train, like soccer or volleyball or field hockey or something else that is preferably free.
So if any other newbie or raw meat derby girl reading this is trying to figure out why you’re hitting a wall, try going for a run or playing another sport, just for fun! It really does help. I wanted to make sure to put this in my Diary, because I know one day I will go through another semi-lazy-phase and wonder why I’m sucking at practice – this is my very own reminder.
With Derby Love,
B.B. Aggressive (#246)
P.S. We ordered uniforms! I decided to go with a little flared skirt and a top with cap sleeves, to go along with my evil cheerleader theme (lol). Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always known derby is hard, hard work. But I’ve also been dreaming of my bout fit, dammit! I can’t wait to put it on…