With just over 104,000 square miles of beauty, 53 peaks above 14,000 ft, and an overall average elevation of 6,800 ft it is no surprise three Colorado towns popped up on Outside Magazine’s top 10 towns for high-altitude running list.
Want to breathe with unconstrained lungs, cruise over hills as if they were pesky speed bumps, and shave down your PR? Then you’ll need to spend some time huffing and puffing in thin mountain air. Although there’s no conclusive sweet spot for optimal elevation training, USA Track & Field has recommended that athletes live between 7,000 and 8,000 feet above sea level. Sparse oxygen at such altitude forces your body to increase its number of red blood cells, thus increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to muscles during exercise and improving performance.
Lately, some of the best runners in the country have been traveling abroad for their stints at altitude. Nick Symmonds said he trained for a month at around 6,000 feet in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, leading up to the 2014 indoor track national championships. Ryan Hall and his wife, Sara, flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to run at 7,000 feet in preparation for this year’s Boston Marathon. Desi Linden trained in Iten, Kenya (elevation 7,900), for the same race.
But there are plenty of high altitude destinations stateside. Flatlanders ought to be cautious when traveling any of these places—and not just because of the lack of oxygen. Visitors often become residents. Marathoner Frank Shorter moved to Boulder, Colorado, in 1970 to prepare for the 1972 Munich Olympics, and Boulderites still see him on area trails.
The hype around the technology has raced ahead of the evidence. Now the evidence may be catching up.
From a purely scientific point of view, the idea that you can alter your physical limits by trickling a bit of electric current through your brain is pretty amazing. Without changing anything about how your muscles are contracting, how hard you’re breathing, or how fast your heart is beating, you can (in theory) go farther or faster—because electric stimulation applied to precisely the right part of the brain makes everything feel easier. It’s a pretty stunning illustration of the brain’s role in setting physical limits.
In practice, the waters are a bit muddier. Should we really celebrate the advent of a new era of brain doping, in which anyone who aspires to the top of the podium has to wire up their cranium? I’ve written a lot about a technique called transcranial direct-current brain stimulation in recent years (most recently here), and I’ve been secretly relieved that, although it seems to work in the highly controlled environment of the laboratory, there’s been little or no convincing evidence that commercially available devices like the one made by Halo Neuroscience do the same.
For better or worse, that may be changing. Last month, two new studies were published that found significant improvements in athletic performance—one running, one cycling—using Halo’s brain-stimulation headphones. Both studies are small, and both leave some questions unanswered. But as brain stimulation drifts toward mainstream, it’s worth taking a look at the new findings.
Training for the 140.6-mile adventure is daunting, and you may be wondering where you’ll find the time to master three sports while balancing life.
So you signed up for your first full Ironman, and are now feeling quite daunted by the potential volume of training/commitment involved. It’s true that training for an Ironman is not an insignificant undertaking—after all, we all only have so much time in a day; and work, life, and family commitments need to be managed in that same time (not to mention sleep!)
As such, when talking to athletes pondering how to overcome this challenge, I tell them to think of their day as a 24-hour pie chart, in which the segments (training, family, sleep etc.) must be adjusted to fit your individual situation. Here we’ll discuss some simple strategies to help you get the most out of your chart.
Strategy 1: Involve your support crew in the planning process. Even before looking at managing your time, the first key factor in setting yourself up for success is to involve the people around you in the planning process. This is not one of those times when it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission (unlike many of my bike purchases!). To survive and thrive in an Ironman year, the support from your nearest and dearest will be vital. So you should to sit everyone down and talk through what you are planning and what is involved.
Cover what the year might look like in terms of heavy training times (i.e. four weeks out from race date), and how your training will fit in with everyone’s plans. When are holidays, weddings and big family events happening? Are there clashes? How will you manage them? You will also need to agree what a typical training week might need to look like, i.e. does it work to do your long bike on a Sunday when kids need to be dropped to sports? Setting up the correct “skeleton” week, as I call it with my squad, really does help minimize unnecessary friction from the start.
Note well that part of this planning should include an agreed-upon date/movie night, family fun days etc. Remember, you are not the only person in this! The more you make your support crew part of your Ironman journey, rather than victims of it, the easier your time management task will be.
Strategy 2: Get a solid training plan Do your research early in relation to this, as there are multiple training plan resources at your disposal. Free plans online, customizable training plans, and individual coaching are all good options, depending on your situation. There is no right answer for everyone, so it’s up to you to figure out your budget, the level of oversight you want, and your flexibility.
Follow these tips and your training will spring forward, too.
Daylight Savings Time Change 2019 – Daylight Saving Tips for Runners
Don’t let daylight saving time put your fitness to sleep when the clocks roll forward in 2019. When it hits—this year on Sunday, March 10—our clocks will jump ahead an hour, giving you some extra light on those evening runs at the end of the day.
Losing 60 minutes of shuteye may not seem like much when it comes affecting your fitness, but it can take a toll on your running routine for several days if you don’t make some simple adjustments. Fortunately, you can keep the overall grogginess away with some prep heading into daylight saving and some extra motivation to not swat the snooze button before your long run the next morning (or race).
Just follow these five tips to keep your training on track.
1. Go for a run the night before.
A good night’s rest during this weekend is vital for your body’s clock to transition to the new weekday schedule. For starters, go for a run on Saturday because exercise will significantly improve your snooze quality. Michael Breus, Ph.D., a runner and sleep specialist also recommends reducing your alcohol and caffeine consumption this weekend.
“Alcohol keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep,” he says. “Calm your caffeine consumption down by 2 p.m. on Saturday—that will help get you into deeper stages of sleep that night.”
2. Adjust your sleep schedule.
Go to bed 30 minutes earlier on the night of daylight saving and sleep in 30 minutes later Sunday morning, Breus recommends. “It takes the circadian clock in the body about a day to get used to the change,” he says. Putting in the extra Z’s during the weekend time shift will help you feel less tired if you have to get a run in before work Monday morning.
I get asked the question “how do you stay motivated in the winter?” quite often really. I am human, like everyone else, and the cold, dark mornings make it that much more difficult to get out of my warm bed in the morning. I have a number of tricks/ideas that I use in the winter months especially to stay motivated and maintain consistency in my daily training.
Find yourself some training partners. Having training partners is a great way not only to hold yourself accountable, but also to keep the sport fun and fresh. A training camp can also be a great way to change your perspective and environment, while motivating you to work hard on the daily. Surround yourself with like-minded people and it’s amazing what you can do together.
Plan out your season goals. Before the next season begins, I like to write out specific outcome-based goals, and then process-related goals of how I will get there. I also like to plan my early season races, which gives me incentive to build fitness in the off-season. A goal on the horizon, can make a significant difference when it comes to finding motivation to train.
Music. Music has been a great friend of mine in the winter, especially to keep me motivated and entertained while on the trainer with my Blue AC1 Limited Road Bike or running on the dreadmill (yes I spelled that correctly). I also like to have different genres of music based on the purpose of each workout. Even when the body doesn’t feel great, music has a way of inspiring.
Go outside Even when it is cold outside, sometimes it can be beneficial and give you a fresh perspective to bundle up and run outside. Think of the snow on the ground as a change of scenery and fresh perspective on your typical running routes. Every Wednesday, I run a 6 am sunrise run with my roommate, Caryn. We both bundle up and hit the roads with our headlamps. It’s a nice morning adventure that motivates me to wake up early 🙂
Yoga. Practicing mindfulness in the form of yoga or meditation can be very helpful in defining your purpose, letting go of your past, and channeling your energy to future goals. Given I have a body-type that struggles in the cold, the heated sessions especially are beneficial to my overall recovery and ability to relax.
Get in the gym and hit it hard! In the summer season, it’s typically race season so gym training is usually a supplement to training and not the core part of training/racing. In the winter time, change it up by hitting the gym hard three times per week. Gym has become one of my workouts in the winter. Building strength will translate to a stronger, healthier body when the season comes around.
Coyote That Attacks Runners Has Once Again Emerged in Frisco
Six people have been injured since October on the same two-mile path
In Frisco, Texas, police have issued yet another alert for an aggressive coyote following another attack on a runner.
On January 29, a man was running in the area of Eldorado Parkway and Tangerine Lane at approximately 6:40 a.m. when a coyote emerged from vegetation and bit him.
The victim was able to fend off the coyote, and was transported by a family member to an area hospital where he was treated for minor injuries, according to the alert.
Between October 26 and December 17, there were five other coyote attacks, all along the same two-mile stretch of Frisco’s Eldorado Parkway. Similar to the most recent attack, they all involved a single coyote aggressively approaching a single person or pair in the early morning hours.
This attack is thought to be connected to previous attacks. Though police don’t know if it’s the same coyote, the incident happened in the same area, around the same time, and with the same details, a Frisco Police spokesperson told Runner’s World.
Police have implemented a website where people can report coyote sightings and also see a map where other sightings have been reported. This site will hopefully help law enforcement track down the coyote or coyotes that have been attacking runners and other people using the parkway.
A private contractor was hired to track down the coyote believed to be responsible for the attacks, according to an earlier press release. Additionally, the department continues to collaborate with Texas Parks and Wildlife to determine which practices should be employed to best manage the situation.
You may think snow on the ground means you’re relegated to the treadmill or the track. But snowy conditions don’t prevent coach Terrence Mahon’s athletes–who live and train in Mammoth, Calif.–from hitting the trails. Besides getting them outside, snow running provides his runners with an added cardiovascular benefit and it works stabilization muscles, all the way from ankles to to hips, he says.
One of his athletes, marathoner and Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor, shares her tips for running in the snow:
For light snow conditions I have a pair of the Asics Gel-Arctic shoes, which have little studs on the bottom for better grip and are water resistant. If I need extra traction, I add Yak Trax (yaktrax.com). As the snow deepens I will use Kahtoola Microspikes (kahtoola.com) or crampons over my shoes. If there is a huge storm that is dumping multiple feet of fresh powder, I use snowshoes with a narrow back so I can run in them. Sometimes these are difficult workouts, but that is when we often feel the most gratification.
I wear form-fitting, water-resistant clothing. If the conditions are on the harsher side, I wear a thin layer of Vaseline on my face to protect from the wind and snow. (Do not use Vaseline if it is sunny—you will burn!)
Eight-year-old Connor was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just 1.5-years-old. He underwent chemo for 3 years and 3 months and celebrated his last dose with a family party. For the next couple of years Connor endured several finger pokes for routine blood tests. Sadly, his family learned in February 2017 that his leukemia came back.
Connor’s mom, Jen, shared, “He didn’t even feel sick but the doctors said he had to fight the bad guys in his blood and start taking chemo again. This second time the chemo was a lot harder- it made him really sick and he had to stay in the hospital a lot.”
Connor had a bone marrow transplant on August 1, 2017, from his sister Chloe. His health continued to improve but he couldn’t be around people or go to public places because of germs. He spent most of his time at home and was homeschooled to stay on track with his school work. Connor was able to FaceTime with his class.
One year after his bone marrow transplant, a biopsy revealed that his leukemia was back for a third time. He spent over a month at Children’s Hospital Colorado getting chemo in preparation for CAR T-cell immunotherapy.
CAR-T personalized cellular therapy is a revolutionary approach to treating cancer by using genetic engineering to reprogram the patient’s own immune T cells to find and kill cancer cells. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For the past two decades, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has invested more than $40 million in CAR-T research and development. Connor was the sixth person at Children’s Hospital Colorado to receive CAR-T.
Connor had a check-up 34 days after his CAR-T infusion and again most recently during the holiday season at 61 days post-treatment. The results were positive, showing no signs of leukemia. Jen shared, “This was the BEST Christmas present ever for our family!!! His fight isn’t over but this is a huge victory and we are soooo very thankful!”
You can click here to learn more about CAR T-cell immunotherapy.
Connor has been an inspiration to Denver-area teammates training for the Wildflower Experience and other endurance events through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, the world’s largest and most successful endurance sports fundraising and training program. Team In Training (TNT) offers a lineup of innovative high caliber domestic and international events, and prepares teammates for marathons, half marathons, and triathlons, as well as cycling, climbing and hiking experiences.
Since its inception in 1988, Team In Training has raised more than $1.5 billion, trained more than 650,000 people and helped LLS invest more than $1.2 billion in blood cancer research such as CAR T-cell immunotherapy.
“We all come to TNT with different our own personal stories and reasons for being involved with LLS,” shared Heather Collins, Team Captain for Team In Training Fundraising Team Connor McStrong. “Coming together to support our Honored Hero is what makes us a team. You realize that what you are a part of is bigger than just you, and your goals and your training. Watching Connor and his family go through the different stages of his treatment really brings the LLS mission to life and continually inspires me to keep doing this kind of work.”
Training for the Wildflower Experience begins on February 2, 2019. Team In Training will get you to the finish line with experienced coaches, training resources and a supportive community of athletes of all skill levels. Teammates also have access to world-class fundraising tools to help them reach their goal to fund blood cancer research.
“Before I joined Team in Training, all of my training was ‘solo’,” shared Heather. “I was hesitant about running with a team. Now I can’t imagine anything else! The encouragement and support from day one of training through event weekend helps me stay motivated. Instead of going into the event weekend nervous and uncertain, I now know I’ll have TNT Staff, coaches, supporters and teammates there to help me through. I find as much joy in cheering on my teammates as I do crossing that finish line myself!”
Join the team for the Wildflower Experience. To learn more, click here. Use code 303TRI for free Team In Training registration ($100 value, expires 1/31/19).
And other top myths and truths about running in the cold.
Winter running breeds some interesting misconceptions, so we decided to get the straight story. We enlisted the help of one of the key scientists studying cold-weather workouts: John Castellani, Ph.D., research physiologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass. See if you can separate the truths from the lies below—and stay warm and fit all winter.
Winter running burns more calories. True or False. Sorry, put the French fries down. Unless you’re running through snow or mud, you’re not burning any more calories than when you run in any other season. Sure, research shows that shivering and very heavy clothes do cause you to burn more calories. But by “heavy clothes,” researchers are talking about army boots and hiking gear, not your winter shell with titanium thermo-regulating technology.
Cold makes you pee more, so you’re more likely to get dehydrated.True or false. Well, the first half is true: Cold can create what researchers call cold-induced diuresis (CID), meaning you pee more when your body meets cold air or water. When your skin gets cold, blood is shunted away from your skin and redirected to your core. “With more blood in the thorax, the heart says, ‘I have too much fluid on board and need to get rid of some of it,’” says Castellani. But exercise, even at a moderate intensity, prevents CID.
Moving the blood to the core also makes your body think you have enough fluids on board. You need to be smart about replacing what you’re losing, but don’t go crazy: Unless you’re overdressed, you won’t need as much water as you would on a 90-degree day with 80 percent humidity.
The fitness mantra, you must ‘use it or lose it!’ might be a bit of a cliché, but it turns out that this saying perfectly sums up one of the key principles of fitness and exercise – reversibility. At a time of year when it’s tempting to leave the bike in the shed, it’s even more important to maintain fitness.
So long as you train, you can maintain and (hopefully) build your fitness levels. However, stop training and your fitness levels will steadily decline.
The obvious question that you might therefore ask is, “How much fitness will I lose if I decide to take a break, or if I’m forced to stop training because of injury or illness? And how rapidly will this fitness loss occur?” To answer this, it’s important to understand that there are several different components of fitness, including muscular strength, muscular endurance and cardiovascular – heart, lung and circulatory – endurance.
Stop training and the performance decline in each of these components will take place at different rates. So let’s take an imaginary well-trained cyclist and observe what happens to their body over a period of six months following the complete cessation of training.
Day 0 This is your last training day for the next six months. After today’s ride, you store your bike away, hang up your cycling shoes and join the bulk of Britons who do no regular vigorous exercise whatsoever!
Day 3 After three days of inactivity, you might expect that your fitness has already begun to decline. In reality, however, the losses at this stage are very small. If you had been training hard prior to day 0, after three days of rest, your cycling fitness is now probably enhanced.
That’s because in those three days, your muscles have had time to fully recover; muscle carbohydrate stores (glycogen) have been topped up, muscle fibres damaged during hard training have been fully repaired, and favourable metabolic changes in the muscles have had time to occur.
Indeed, this peak in performance after a few days of rest is exactly the reason why tapering works, and why you shouldn’t train right up to the day of a big event.
Day 7 (Week 1) After a week’s complete inactivity, changes begin to occur in the body that result in fitness losses. For example, after three days, your blood volume can be reduced by five to 12 per cent. This means a decrease in the amount of blood your heart can pump – both in terms of amount of blood pumped per beat and total blood volume per minute.