A traditional training cycle includes a three week build cycle followed by a rest or recovery week. A build cycle step ups incrementally in intensity, volume/duration and specificity. Depending on your fitness level not all three elements should be increased simultaneously in a three week build cycle. During the course of a build cycle your physical stress levels will increase due to cumulative fatigue of training. A build cycle is always followed by a week of recovery. A recovery week is 2/3 to 1/2 of the total volume/duration, intensity and specificity of a one week build. During a recovery week your stress levels should drop to a baseline level, allowing you to repair, recover and replenish your body from the hard build cycle. It is this cycle of building and recovery that allows your body to adapt to race day needs and prepare you toward your “A” goal for the season. Making time for daily recovery is imperative to staying healthy and on track for your race day goals. Be preventive and counter your stress levels by making sure you are adding adequate recovery time into your daily/weekly/monthly training plan. Some counter stress activities include:

1. Eat nutritional dense meals. Avoid empty calories such as simple sugars and fried fats, as these foods stress your digestive system. A nutritionally dense mixed diet includes: 20% good omega fats, 20% clean proteins, and 60% complex dense carbohydrates of your daily caloric intake. This will support and replenish your bodies much needed energy for daily training.

2. Proper hydration. A simple rule of thumb is to consume your body weight in oz/daily. If you weight 150lbs then consume 150oz/daily. Then add 12-20oz for every hour of running.

3. A full night’s sleep. Sleep is the best restorative and reparative activity we have available to us on a daily bases. If you’re constantly injured and or fatigue it may not be your training level but how much sleep you are getting. Be good to yourself and get 8+hr/nightly.

4. Get relaxed. Countering the daily stress of high volume or intense workouts through relaxation is one of the best recovery activates you and practice. Relaxation tools include: foam rolling, self and professional massage, gentle stretching, and meditation. Spend 10% of your daily run time in some form of relaxation. i.e. if you ran 1.5hr today then spend 9min in a relaxation activity.

Cindy Stonesmith CMT ACSM/HFS
Owner and Endurance Running Coach

Description: From Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass – Head up through Copper’s cross country ski trails, past Janet’s Cabin, and over two passes – you’ll find yourself looking down at Lake Dillon and the ponds at Climax, near Leadville, CO. From here you’ll descend into Camp Hale, and back up through the forested single track to Tennessee Pass.
Suggestion: Do it as a point-to-point and shuttle your car, or as an out-and-back run/hike.
Self-Supported – Head West to East (Tennessee Pass to Copper and back), you can filter water/stock or restock in Copper before heading back.
Credit Card Run – Go from Tennessee Pass to Copper, spend the night in Copper, and run back the next day. All you need is a credit card AND reservations!
Point to Point – Leave a car at Copper Mountain, and one at Tennessee Pass for an afternoon test of machismo.
Location: From Denver, take I-70 West, past Frisco to Copper Mountain Resort. You can access this trail from the west side of Hwy. 9. Look for the Colorado Trail sign in the woods along the highway. Underneath the Eagle Lift of Copper Mountain Resort, look for the white rock with the Colorado Trail logo.
Logistics: You can reserve cabins through the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. Camping is available; most people camp right off the trail, just avoid undisturbed ground. Cell phone coverage along the trail is spotty. Dogs are allowed. There is a free Summit Stage bus which runs between Silverthorne, Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, and Copper – giving you even more options!
Length: 24.33 miles *each way
Elevation: 3,823-foot elevation gain
Terrain: Beautiful, rugged, you’ll either be heading up or coming down, pine forests, snow on the peaks at any time of the year.
Season: There is not an “open” or a “closed” date for the CT, but the season is considered best in July-August. It is recommended that travelers start no earlier than late June, because high elevations plus tree slopes can retain troublesome snowpack into July. It is also recommended to finish the trail/course by September, before snow becomes plentiful. Watch out for lightning when above the tree-line (esp. between July – end of August).
Details: Prepare for a wide range of temps (30-80 deg.) Synthetic fabrics, layers, rain shells, etc. are recommended, cotton is not.
Shop: The CT Store and Colorado Trail Foundation.

In order to increase your fitness level it’s important to have a year or even several years of a long training plan. Wanting too much too soon is a recipe for injuries and burnout, don’t get greedy and try to make too big a leap in one run, one race or even one year’s training cycle. Endurance fitness is one of the last physiological adaptations that solidifies through training. It may take 1-2 years before a runner is strong enough to step up to the next level of racing. So if you haven’t mastered a 50 mile race then don’t sign up for a 100 mile race. If you’ve never arrived at a race finish-line feeling like you can eat, drink and be merry then you’ve got more work to do before you take the next step to a greater distance or harder course. Be methodical in your training approach and use a running log to have an objective view of the hours and miles that you are capable of completing in a season or year. Review last year logs for clues of how much volume and miles your body is capable of without getting injured. Adding a long term approach to your training plan will keep your fitness level increasing year to year, minimize injuries and having you enjoying every finish line you reach.

Cindy Stonesmith CMT ACSM/HFS
Owner and Endurance Running Coach

In 2012 Jeremy Bradford ran nine 100’s, broke five course records and was declared the winningest 100-mile racer. Gemini Adventures sat down with Jeremy, and here’s what he had to say,
1) Which 100’s did you compete in this past year?
I ran nine 100’s in 2012, wining seven and setting 5 course records. The seven I won were:
1) Moab: 21:17:00
2) Coyote Springs: 22:00:53 – CR
3) Black Hills: 20:50:11 – CR
4) Happy Jack: 21:11:00
5) Grand Mesa: 20:33:00 – CR
6) Boulder: 15:42:00 – CR, PR
7) Houston: 18:11:33 – CR

I placed 5th at the Lean Horse 100 in august setting what was then a PR of 18:27:48. Much to my surprise, I subsequently lowered that to 15:42:00 at the Boulder 100. I also ran the Coyote Springs 100 for a second time in the Fall (the race director ended up having the race twice in one year), but the wheels really came off late in that race. I was leading the race from the start for about 82 miles before becoming so sick I had to stop for several hours as I could not hold down any food or water and was getting very weak. I was demoralized and in a lot of pain for reasons I still don’t understand – just have to chalk it up to a bad day. Although the race did not go as I hoped, I’m happy that I eventually got back out on the course with my wife, Natalie, for a 17 mile zombie walk to a 29 hour finish.

2) Which was your favorite?
It’s very hard to say which my favorite was because they were all pretty special in their own way. So here are some highlights in chronological order:

· Moab was great because it was my first 100 mile win, the 3rd anniversary of my first 100 mile attempt (which was my sole DNF), and it was a turning point for how I viewed my ability as a runner. I started to understand that willpower can do more than just keep you going, it can make you go faster. I stopped surviving 100s and started racing them instead. I’m fairly confident that the success I had in 2012 stems more from that paradigm shift than any other factor.
· Coyote Springs because it was only one week after winning Moab. That proved to me that I could recover much faster than is traditionally thought and it opened up the door to running a very eventful year.
· Black Hills was an amazing experience because I had to fight so hard to win. I ran on a sprained ankle from early in the race against many talented runners that on another day could have soundly beaten me. Once I unexpectedly found myself in the lead (around mile 35) I locked into a competitive mode where I was going to push as hard as I needed to in order win. I had the unexpected surprise of having a volunteer pacer, Kieran McCarthy, join me for the last 17 miles. Plus, I had a wonderful weekend with my family and made my son super happy by winning the big buffalo skull awarded to the top 3 positions.
· Happy Jack was memorable because the heavy rain was relentless and the trail conditions were awful. Finishing that race just came down to grit and determination. I was proud just to have completed that race as every runner registered for the 100 ended up dropping out except for me and Chris Westerman.
· Grand Mesa was another hard fought and unexpected win. My buddy, Ken Long, crewed and paced me. His encouragement and enthusiasm really kept me going. It was exciting to share the win with him as I normally don’t have pacers and he did such an awesome job keeping me pushing for 20.5 hours.
· Boulder was awesome because I achieved a level I had never imagined reaching. At the start of the season, a sub-20 seemed like a lofty goal, let alone a sub-16. Two years earlier it took me over 29 hours to complete Boulder. The prior year was my first time going sub-24. In 2012, I was determined to win since I had a streak going with the Triple Crown Series, but I was very surprised by how hard the eventual 2nd place finisher, Jeremy Ebel, was pushing. It seemed like he was never more than a half lap behind me for the last 50 miles and I just couldn’t afford slow down. There’s no way I could have run that hard if it hadn’t been for the strong competition.
· Houston was fun because it was literally just a run in the park with friends. The course consisted of a flat 2 mile loop and provided plenty of opportunity to socialize and revel in the camaraderie of the sport. It was also nice to achieve my goal of winning seven 100 milers in a calendar year. Karl Meltzer is a legend and to be able to infringe on just one of his many records is a great honor for me.

3) How do you train for competition?
No special secrets here. I basically run as often as I can, which is sometimes as little as 35 miles a week. I hit the hills in Golden near my office, but I wouldn’t consider it real mountain training. Every now and then I push pretty hard, but generally I just do what feels comfortable and enjoyable. In that regard, not much has changed since I started running in 2009. In fact, I think I trained more back then than I do now. It is likely experience and confidence that are paying the dividends now. Switching over to using Hokas for all my ultras didn’t hurt either.

4) How do you recover post race?
Same as anyone I suppose, I moan about how sore I am until I feel better. I try not to whine about it too much since it’s self imposed pain and I do it pretty much every month, but it does hurt. I joke that my body feels like I get in monthly car wrecks. I’ll probably take it a bit easier in 2013.

5) What do you consume during the race/s?
I’m all over the place with nutrition and hydration. Early in the year I was convinced that Hammer Gel and water was the way to go. I later took to eating Stinger Waffles almost exclusively before I realized I could probably eat almost anything and be okay, but I might be wrong about that. In my last race I was eating pecan pie while running and thinking it was the best thing I’d ever had. Really don’t feel like I’ve got this dialed in at all.

6) How do you keep injury-free?
I don’t. I’m hurting all the time. I had several injuries throughout the year that I thought were going to be more debilitating than they turned out to be. I’ll spare you the list, but I felt injured most of the year in one way or another. Pleased to say I feel fine now.

1) What do you do for a living?
I’m a marketing analyst for HomeAdvisor.com.

2) What does your family think about your training/running?
My wife wholeheartedly supports me and truly believes that I can do anything I think I can. Knowing that she believes in me really helps me to do the same. My kids think I’m crazy (very perceptive), but they enjoy all the adventures we go on. And my mother worries about me, but supports me nonetheless.

3) Where is your favorite area/trail/state to run?
That’s tough to answer because I enjoy both mountain and desert races so much – completely different feel to each, but both just so amazing. If I had to pick a state, I’d say Utah since it has the best of both, although I have yet to run a mountain race there.

4) What do you like to do for fun? Besides run.
I enjoy spending time with my family and actively listening to music. Although not a musician myself (and not for lack of trying), I’m quite keen on music. It makes me happy.

5) What do you see for the future, whether in racing, training, exploring the world, adventures, new feats…?
At this point, I’m really not sure what’s next. I’m registered for a few races, I’m going to Boston, and I’m doing Leadville again. But I’ve yet to make any big goals for 2013. Exploring the world would be great, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. UTMB is definitely on the bucket list though I’d like to do it sooner than later.

6) Who inspires you in the athletic world? Who inspires you overall?
Besides the go to answers for most of us i.e. Geoff Roes, Karl Meltzer, Scott Jurek, etc. I’ve been inspired by people I’ve actually met such as Brooks Williams, an amazing runner and all around great guy out of Colorado Springs. I imagine most people in the Colorado ultra scene know Brooks and his inspirational story. He famously pushes himself to the very edge and sometimes beyond. Gotta admire that. Also, I was very inspired by a man I met in Canada this summer when I ran across Prince Edward Island. His name is Michael Gaudet and he is one of the kindest, most sincere people I’ve ever encountered. He has a long history as an endurance athlete both swimming and running. I enjoyed getting to know him as he accompanied me for portions of the run and shared his outlook on life. He helped me plan and execute the run across island, which he then later replicated himself. His kindness towards me and my family was remarkable. Canadians are known for their friendliness, but this was above and beyond. He lives for the moment and seems sincerely grateful for life itself. I aspire to live the same way, but it ain’t always easy.

As for non-athletes that inspire me, the list is long and runs the gamut from musical icons to family members. Basically anyone who lives a sincere life while aspiring towards originality and truth is an inspiration in my book.

7) Tell us something we don’t know about you. Tell us a story.
If you ask anyone who has known me for a long time about my personality, they’d probably describe me as an all or none kind of guy. Really my whole life has teetered between extremes. As you’d imagine, this is often more harmful than good as moderation is often the best path. In school I either did very well, or I failed. And when I failed, I often convinced myself it was because I chose to fail, or rather that I just didn’t want to try. I regret that I stopped participating in athletics at a young age because I didn’t feel I could be the best, so I’d just rather not try. I’m certain that I’ve passed up many opportunities in life because fear of failure has prevented me from putting myself out there. Not that failure didn’t find me all the same, I just never invited it. It has taken a long time to learn and truly accept that welcoming failure is necessary in order to grow. This has been the story of my running, and if I can learn to apply it more broadly, hopefully can be a foundation for future growth in other areas of my life as well. If the adversity experienced in a 100 mile race can be considered a metaphor for challenges in encountered in life, then I suppose there’s reason to be optimistic.

Wednesday, 02 January 2013 06:32

Zone 5 Training

In this last article of Heart Rate Zone work, we will discuss how including small amounts of Heart Rate Zone 5 in your training plan can have you in the best fitness and racing shape of your life.
Zone 5 or Vo2 max is defined as the maximal oxygen uptake that can be utilized in one minute during maximal exercise effort. Zone 5 is race pace for 5k and less to finish-line sprints. Where this number lies in relationship to other competitors can be an indication of athletic potential. I use the word potential because many athletes do not train to reach their Vo2 max potential. Although Vo2 max has traditionally been thought to be number or ceiling set by genetic factors, i.e. ones parents, there are emerging studies that indicate that proper training can increase an athlete’s Vo2 max up to 20%.
Elite athletes have a very high Vo2 max. From a very early time in their life they were the kids that excelled in all things athletic. What about the rest of us? We are considered recreational runners. Running is fun for us, yet we too have goals and dreams of PRing and signing up for increasingly more challenging races. If this describes you and you’re not including a few, “all out pace” intervals sessions in your training cycle then chances are you’re not reaching your Vo2 max potential either. A small amount of hard effort can go a long way to improve your neuromuscular pathways, running economy and speed. Part of the definition of Vo2 max is maximal exercise effort. Vo2 max effort is an all out effort. It makes you breath hard and sometimes throw-up! Even an endurance runner will want to include a few Vo2max potential workouts in his/her training schedule to be in the best racing fitness condition.
Training Recommendation: Since running at an all out pace is very taxing on the joint and cardiovascular systems, workouts that incorporate Vo2 max intervals are brief: 30sec-5min in length with rest periods between the intervals. These efforts are run at 5k to sprint pace.
A sample of a typical Vo2 max workout: Warm-up 10-15min very easy in Heart Rate Zone 1-2. Then include 1-2 sets 5-10 x 60sec pick-ups to an all out effort. Rest period between pick-ups are 60sec-3min, making sure you allow your heart rate to return to Z2 between pick-ups. Cool-down Z2 10-15min.
Work in Heart Rate Zone 5: 1-3days/month for 5-20min per workout. Workouts in Zone 5 are considered an advanced workout session. Only incorporate Zone 5 work in your training plan if you have good running form and are not prone to injuries. Zone 5 workouts are for the athlete that has a solid Zone 1-2 base, has incorporated tempo work in Z3 & 4, and is now looking to increase their fitness and racing to the next level.

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