Your Roller Derby Training Happens Around a SEASON

A while back, I went on a bit of a tear to get people to start thinking about training like an athlete. Well, I mean, I guess it was a tear. If being on a tear can be described as one impassioned email, an equally impassioned blog article, and a FB live post where I mention that Marshawn Lynch might be my patronus.

In the video, I chatted about all the things that fall under the phrase “train like an athlete”. As far as I can tell, the 2 biggest contributors to skaters not training like an athletes are:

  1. Assuming you aren’t one. Full stop. (But obviously I’m here telling you that ARE one. So nullified!)
  2. Not knowing what to do. Not just at any given moment, but across the entirety of the season. (This is a bit large to unpack, so we’ll focus on the bit about the season.)

Too many skaters jump from thing to thing or dabble a little here and dabble a little there. But if you’re an athlete (which you are — see #1 above), your training happens around a SEASON and you need to be looking at your ENTIRE SEASON when you’re planning what to do.

This is typically called periodization, but it doesn’t really matter. The idea is that you divide your time up into periods and each period is assigned a different training tactic. There’s scientific support for periodization training for athletes and it’s even where the almost entirely ridiculous notion of muscle confusion stems from.

Your Season Has Multiple Parts

In terms of training like an athlete, you want to match up the type of training you’re doing with where you are in the season. By doing this you can actually maximize the effectiveness of your training and often have more success with the rest and recovery pieces as well.

Most athletes don’t cross train 5 days a week during their season because the demand on their body is too high. But how often you train is really only half of it.

To make these easy, let’s say that we’re going to divide our season into 4 different periods:

  • ON SEASON: When we are in competition and attending heavy practices.
  • OFF SEASON: When we are not in competition and not attending practices (or — in the world of derby — attending light practices).
  • ACTIVE REST/RECOVERY: Not in competition, not attending practices, not cross training (YES! Those times must exist!!).
  • PRE SEASON: Specific preparation and lead up to the competition season.

Each Part Needs to Be Approached Differently

And during each period, you need to focus on things that will A) help you prepare and maintain your skills for the season, B) keep you healthy and sane, and C) match up to the types of sport specific work you are doing during that period.

For example, in pre season your body needs to prepare for the rigors of the competition season, so both practices and cross training are geared towards that. During the season, you want to focus your energy on competition so cross training tapers off a bit. And each strenuous on season is followed by a period of active rest (which is equal to a few days of light activity per week) for 2-4 weeks.

It can be hard to visualize (and we all have insane derby schedules), so here’s the periodized schedule I *TRY* to stick to during my season. Which, as you can see, is totally weird.

Periodization Example
The trick to periodization is paying attention. You won’t know if cross training for 1, 2, or 3 days during your on season is right for you until you try it, collect the data, and evaluate the data you’ve collected.

The good thing is that you have an entire year to figure it out.


The beginning of the season can simultaneously be the most and least favorite part of a season. You’re giddy with the excitement of lacing up and skating again, along with the change to reconnect with your teammates and the sport you love. But you’re also sick with dread about how rusty you are.

Once the season starts, the rust has got to go. We need it gone so that when that first game hits, you’re skating at the same level that you ended last season on.

Introducing the January Pre-Season Prep Challenge

A 5-week training program that helps you shake the rust off and avoid burning out while doing it:

The Challenge includes:

  • 5-WEEK PRE-SEASON TRAINING PROGRAM => Train up to 5 days a week with a program designed just for refinding and refinding those movements you haven’t done in while.
  • KILLER COACHING => Access to a private coaching group that will specifically focus on toeing the line between shaking off the rust and avoiding potential burnout.
  • A FANCY TRAINING APP => To deliver the program right to your phone. Or computer.
  • MINDSET & LIFESTYLE TIPS => The coaching group doesn’t just focus on the physical part of training. We’ll also talk about how to set yourself up mentally for long-term season success.

The Cephalopod Squad and the challenges only open up 2 or 3 times a year, so if you’ve ever wanted to join the squad OR you need special help prepping for a big pre-season ahead, THIS IS THE TIME.

Grab your spot now.


About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.


  • FoxAnne says:

    When you are in season- are you only counting the 1-3 days as days where you are doing higher intensity training or also active recovery as one of those days as well?

    • IronOctopusFitness IronOctopusFitness says:

      Good question! The 1-3 days are “WORK” days. Active recovery and rest should fill in the other days.

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