tessa and scott's current training regimen

Intro --

Tessa has been dealing with a serious injury for about four years now. It's taken away a lot of training time and competitions, reducing them to fans in the seats. They've sat out the grand prix finals, nationals and the entire grand prix circuit sometimes. Even when they skated, Tessa skated in pain. They even won the Olympics while Tessa could barely walk, having to calculate the number of steps from one location to another at the athlete's village. To give you  some perspective, here is the team talking about this

Now, the two are healthy, training and back competing fully. How have they adapted their training to make this happen? Whenever I hear some insight, I'll post them here:

From the Hamilton Spec --

The skaters and their support group decided to eschew another surgery, and try alternative methods, which they won’t disclose in full detail. But, essentially, she upped the ante in off-ice workouts from her already-rigorous regimen and altered some basic mechanics of her skating stroke — which few skaters in their 15th year of competition ever do.

“We tried to focus on taking the load off my calves, activating and recruiting different muscles,” Virtue told The Spectator. “I haven’t felt any of the symptoms since then.”

She’s shifted some of the load of her skating to her gluts and hamstrings and she feels a lot stronger.

“It’s helped not just in dealing with the pain, it’s made me a better skater, which is great,” Virtue said. “I’m using my muscles in a smarter way. There’s no way that my calves are going to get me the power that my gluts would. I think that’s how most people skate, but I just developed weird muscle patterns … from being in pain, probably, and trying to compensate. But maybe I’ve always had a different pattern, I don’t really know.”

It’s natural to assume that, with a change in her skating stroke, she and her partner would have to go back to basics and rebuild the elements of their legendary on-ice physical unison. But, in fact, the opposite is true.

“I feel stronger, so I feel like Scott and I are better matched,” she says, and her partner agrees. “If you notice us more in unison, or faster or stronger, that’s what it is.”

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From the CBC --

From the Globe and Mail --

This season, they’ve also made changes to the way they train, with an eye toward preventing the re-occurrence of injuries that sidelined Virtue for much of two seasons.

The plan now? Periodization training, the experts call it. Instead of training day in and day out, they train hard when they need to, and rest when they need to.

“This year, we really focused on putting the hammer down when the training needed to be tough and also taking our rest so that our bodies were ready for the hard times,” Moir said. “That’s really paid off. We’ve probably had our best training this year that we’ve ever had in our careers.”

“We’re enjoying the process more that was taken away from us,” Virtue added.

Because of the new strategy, Virtue said she and Moir had time to work on basic skating skills, which are a part of each program.

“Little things like that all add to the package,” she said.

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From Icenetwork --

After defeating the Americans by 5.83 points at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the Canadians took much of 2010-11 off so that Virtue could recover from a second surgery for chronic exertional compartment syndrome in her shins. Now, a little more than a year later, she thinks the time off might have been a blessing in disguise, forcing the team to re-evaluate their schedule and build in periods of rest.

"We made some really smart changes," she said. "We're training smartly and productively." 

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