Hey, skaters welcome back to the NorthShore Inline Marathon skating blog! In our last two blogs, we learned how to get our ankles ready for skating season, and then we learned the proper skating position and exercises to strengthen the muscles we’re going to need to complete the NorthShore Inline Marathon. So far we’ve focused on ways to improve our skating while in our street shoes, but this week we’re finally putting our skates on!
This week we are going to start with the basics. We’re going to learn about how our knee bend, knee spacing, and shoulder positioning help us keep our balance even on uneven surfaces or while skating over twigs and rocks. Once again, we’re going to check in with Viktor Hald Thorup on his YouTube channel. Viktor is a 2-time Olympic Long Track speedskater and elite inline marathoner and has some great online videos for every level of skater. Make sure to pay attention to the end of this video. There are some great tips about skates, frames, and socks.
In one of our earlier blogs, we go into detail on the different types of skates so if you have questions about what you should be wearing make sure to check out that blog. For most new skaters you should be starting with higher, hardshell boots with a soft liner. We call these recreational boots and they are what Viktor is wearing in this video. These are the most common type of boot and are usually the least expensive. Rec boots give you the most support with the most comfort, so they are a great way to learn how to skate while not having to make a large financial commitment.
One thing we’d like to point out is what Viktor says at the very end of the video about frames. A lot of times the less expensive recreational boots do not allow you to move or change your frames. This can be nice for someone starting out because you don’t know where you want the frames to be, but as you progress this can quickly become a problem. Most manufacturers put the frames in the middle of the boot in a “neutral position.” This works best for most skaters who use their skates for fun or light exercise. This position also seems to work best when you are standing up very straight on your skates.
What works best for most people might not be what works best for them. As skaters progress most find they wish their frames were a little bit closer to the inside or outside of their boot and there’s a good chance the boot they bought won’t allow the frame to be adjusted. If possible, try to find a recreational boot that allows you to move or replace the frames in the future. This might be a little bit more money initially, but it will allow you to keep your same setup. If you do buy a setup where you can adjust the frame a great place to start is by lining up the back of the frame with the middle of your heel and the front of the frame in the middle of the front of your boots or in-between your big toe and your second toe. This will give you a neutral starting point. You can adjust the frames as your technique progresses and you can also try bigger or smaller wheels. You may even choose between metal or carbon fiber frames if you want to try saving some weight.
Speaking of wheels, you should also be starting on smaller wheels. The higher your boot the easier it is to use bigger wheels, but for most beginners, we recommend starting with 90, 100-millimeter wheels. Smaller wheels keep you lower to the ground and create less stress on your ankles while keeping your center of gravity a little lower. In general, the smaller the wheels the easier they are to control.
If you are a beginner or getting back into the sport and think you may want to use larger wheels in the future, simply buy a frame that allows for that size wheel and go a step-down. For example, the most common size wheel in a marathon is 110mm. A good way to start out is to buy a frame that allows you to use 110mm wheels but put 100mm wheels on or buy a frame that can hold 100mm wheels and put 90’s on.
This blog got a little bit technical, but the number one question most skaters have is what kind of equipment they should be using. Thanks again for reading our blog and we can’t wait to see you in Duluth MN for the NorthShore Inline Marathon!
The NorthShore Inline Marathon is North America's largest skating event. Hosted on the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior, NSIM offers 8 unique races for all skill types. To learn more about the NorthShore Inline marathon check out their website at www.northshoreinline.com.