Olympic figure skater Meagan Duhamel of Canada explains how she's incorporating running into her training for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
There’s more to figure skating than glamorous outfits and stunning performances.
Figure skaters challenge their inner core to deliver balance, coordination, jumps, twists, lifts and more while maintaining remarkable endurance strength. For Olympic medalist and Canadian pair skater Meagan Duhamel, who is heading to the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games next month, the sport requires an intense workout schedule–and a bit of running.
“I’m competing a long program that is four and one-half minutes long, nonstop,” Duhamel says of her planned Olympic program. “That might not seem like a lot, but in those four and one-half minutes, I have to do two jumping passes, two throws, a twist, three overhead lifts, two spins and various other difficult elements.”
Duhamel is a two-time World Champion figure skater, an Olympic silver medalist and a seven-time Canadian National Champion in pair skating. Between skating and training, she still finds time to enjoy activities she loves–including running her healthy living blog Lutz of Greens, on which she shares her favorite vegan recipes and event recaps.
To be successful on the ice, Duhamel must train her body off the ice. While her off-ice training varies day to day, she consistently trains for two to three hours on the ice every Monday through Friday. What follows is the off-ice workout schedule Duhamel juggles during her weekly skating routine–and it includes one designated running day.
Mondays After Skating: Strength And Conditioning
“We work on stability, strength, cardio and conditioning for any weakness or minor injuries I may be incurring,” Duhamel says. She uses resistance bands more than machines when working on strength exercises.
Try Meagan’s Move: Single-Leg Bosu Ball Squat
On the flat side of a Bosu ball, place your weight on your right foot and lift your left foot off the Bosu. Begin to squat while extending your left leg forward. Once you’re at the bottom of your squat, push up to a standing position. Do 10 to 15 repetitions, then switch sides. Complete three sets. The choice to use a weight or simply stick with your body weight is up to you.
Tuesday Mornings Before Skating: Group Class
“I do a class called Essentrics,” Duhamel says. “It’s a full-body workout that stretches the muscles, then strengthens them.”
This workout, designed in Montreal by a ballerina and physiotherapist, provides a combination of movement and self-therapy to help keep Duhamel flexible, strong and ready for the ice.
Wednesday Mornings Before Skating: Strength And Conditioning
“I work once again with my strength and conditioning trainer–but this time, [the workout happens] before my skating session. We do the same type of work as Monday’s session,” Duhamel explains.
Thursdays After Skating: Pilates
“I’ve been doing Pilates for about 10 years now, and I credit Pilates with saving my lower back from a serious injury in 2009,” Duhamel says, referring to a past stress fracture and herniated disc.
Pilates challenges those hard-to-reach muscles that most athletes forget to strengthen. Pilates is also valuable because it reveals your weaker muscles and offers insight into where athletes are overcompensating and what they need to strengthen.
Fridays After Skating: Run Day!
Can we say Fri-YAY? “Friday is my running day! I try to get outside and do a 5K to 6K run. This is hard to do in the winter, so typically I’m stuck on a treadmill during the cold winter season, but I always prefer running outside,” Duhamel says.
Duhamel considers running to be a form of meditation. When hitting the pavement, she opts out of music or podcasts, preferring to run with the quiet for company. “I love running outside because I can get fresh air and clarity. I don’t just use it as a form of cardio training: I also use it for mental purposes. I spend a lot of my runs visualizing and calming down after a long week of training.”
One of Duhamel’s goals after the 2018 Olympic Winter Games is to start training for marathons. “I’d love to travel and run marathons all over the world,” she says. “It would be a great way to see new sights and explore!”
Saturdays And Sundays: No Skating
“I have weekends off from skating, but it’s impossible for me to sit around and not do anything. I like going to a hot yoga class on Sundays, to prep my body for the training week that is ahead of me,” Duhamel explains.
In addition to hot yoga, Duhamel also enjoys cross-country skiing during the winter and tennis when it’s warmer outside. The variation of fun activities keeps her moving without risking burnout.
Every Day: Yoga
“I find time every day to do some yoga,” Duhamel says. “Sometimes it’s in the morning before leaving home, and sometimes it’s at night before bed.”
Duhamel uses Yogaglo, a website that offers online yoga flows and meditation practices. This enables her to practice anywhere, at any time. Classes range in time from five minutes to two hours.
To perform her best, Duhamel feeds her body with the best fuel. She currently follows a plant-based diet, a nutrition decision she made spontaneously in 2008. Now, she can’t imagine ever going back to consuming animal products.
“I had never even heard of a vegan diet before,” Duhamel says of her pre-2008 self. “But I read a book that wasn’t even educational, just funny, and it grabbed my attention and made me want to try out this vegan thing. I started noticing a lot of positive changes in my body and started discovering a passion for food and healthy living, which led me to study holistic nutrition.”
Duhamel’s typical diet includes consuming overnight oats for breakfast. “In the summers I usually have smoothies, but this winter I’ve been [eating] overnight oats every single morning,” she explains. “I don’t typically eat a big lunch, as I’m usually snacking all day long between training sessions.” Her go-to snacks include bananas or apples with peanut butter, rice cakes with pumpkin butter, trail mixes, homemade muffins or bars. “My favorite source of fuel during those long training days are Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes,” she adds. “I can bring Munk Packs on the road with me, and they serve as a great snack between training sessions or a quick breakfast if I’m at a competition and didn’t make my overnight oats.”
When it comes to dinner, Duhamel doesn’t have time to cook, so she aims to make food on Sundays (typically casseroles) that she can keep in her refrigerator for days. “One of my favorites is a chickpea and vegetable casserole,” she shares, citing her favorite casserole recipe. Duhamel also enjoys making quinoa salads because they are easy to whip together, as well as stir-fry dishes and kale salads.
We wish our friend Meagan Duhamel the best of luck at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games!