Year: 2014

Running in Foot Deep Powder

Today was a great day for a trail run. I went trailrunning this morning at -1F (according to the weather channel). Accuweather had it at -13.

Nothing like a little negative F to kick off the morning trail running
Nothing like a little negative F to kick off the morning trail running

I went out on the deck and it felt more like the weather channel had it at -1F so I dressed for that. It was snowing pretty hard and there was at least 8″ of new snow on the ground. I wore a minimum of clothing, in spite of the cold. It’s better to be slightly cold and dry, rather than dressed really warmly but sweat too much. That sweat will chill you if the wind hits it.

Dressed lightly for a winter trail run at -1F
Dressed lightly for a winter trail run at -1F

I wore my Pearl Izumi Trail N2 with Kahtoola microspikes. I’m glad I did. The trail was really bumpy with icy spots under the powder snow. You couldn’t see under the snow so it was good to have the extra spike aggressiveness. I had thought of wearing my Hoka Stinson with the screws in the bottom.

Winter Trailrunning Video on Vimeo:

[weaver_vimeo id=”111698274″]

I wore Salomon hybrid top and bottom. When I say hybrid I mean a thin athletic fleece with wind and water resistant panels. I wore the loose tights without a base layer. On top I had on an Arctyrex mid-weight base layer. That’s it for clothing. For socks I wore thick wool mountaineering socks. For gloves I had on bike commuter lobster mitts from REI for my hands. On my head I wore a buff, a mid-weight helmet liner, and a swag Salomon baseball cap I got at a race.

The snow was light and fluffy and dry so I didn’t really need to worry about my feet getting wet. When I turned around at the 2.5 mile mark the wind was pretty cold on my chest. I had a thin insulated vest in the UD Pack, but in a few minutes I was warm again so it was worth waiting before I got it out. It ended up I didn’t need it.

Winter Trailrunning GPS Track:

[sgpx gpx=”/wp-content/uploads/gpx/11-12-2014-KeystoneGulch.gpx”]

Slapping Motivation Upside the Head with a Wet Noodle

Recently a friend of mine posted in a social media site something about how food is the fuel that runs your body and you don’t want to be starving your body of the nutrition it needs. I thought this was pretty good motivational commentary, so I added the following paraphrase of a Brian Tracy classic:

“Imagine you’ve just spent $500,000 on a race horse. What would you feed it? Would you cut corners? The cheapest stuff you can find? Your body is even more valuable.”

Almost immediately there were a few demotivational comments. Something along the lines of crippled old horses needing good food, something along the lines of can’t afford good food, something along the lines of a calorie is just a calorie. etc….

So I came up with the following:

If we break down the analogy into the smallest simple parts with the intent to destroy it and excuse our lack of progress, then yes, if you were to use aviation fuel in a Lamborghini, it would fly down the road. If you were to pour that into your 1978 Ford Pinto, it would explode when you turn the key.

 

Eggs, brown rice and salsa. Inexpensive healthy meal choice.

Sometimes motivation is hard. So is eating good simple healthy food. That doesn’t make it untrue. It also doesn’t excuse you from some simple facts. Yes, donuts and diet coke are the nutrition of choice for the Pintos out there. But you do have a choice. You can choose to spend your money more wisely and eat good healthy foods. Even Walmart has good inexpensive organic and natural foods, made by the same companies as those trendy very expensive stores that hold their employees under the guillotine of profit. Not that that is bad or anything …

Ice Climbing Training 6 Week Preparation

Ice Climbing Training? It is indeed that time of year. So let’s get this show on the road. I promised a few weeks ago to post my current ice climbing training program.

Ice Tool Chin-ups for Ice Climbing Training
Ice Tool Chin-ups for Ice Climbing Training

I know from previous years that six weeks of good hard work set you up for a much more successful and fulfilling season out on the ice. Ice climbing training is way worth a little bit of effort for about 6 weeks, or more if you have it. I think if you get into a late season, or are mainly going to Ouray, this program could be done for eight or more weeks and work great.

Ice Climbing Training 6 Week Program

It’s the one I’m actually doing right now. Though I am using slightly different weights for it. For myself I’m really posterior chain dominant. That means I can train hamstrings and glutes all day long and get a lot of bang for the buck. So whereas in this ice climbing training program when it says something like 8 x 8 @ 50% – for me that might be more like 8 x 8 @ 100% (the % being percentage of bodyweight for the training load). For example, like with Leg Curls where I’ve actually maxed out the machine at the gym I currently go to. I say that not to impress, but rather to explain that there is a lot of variance in this program. If you can recover fast enough, there is plenty of room to do a lot more weight in the shoulders and chest exercises.

 

I promised this first to my newsletter subscribers, so if you want your copy, please sign up now and get one without the waiting. It’s a 4 day a week program you can use in just about any gym, even a well stocked home gym. There are a few different options listed, but if you need more let me know and I’ll make a revised version and send it to my subscribers.

[grwebform url=”https://app.getresponse.com/view_webform_v2.js?u=BLe6u&webforms_id=3882404″ css=”on” center=”off” center_margin=”200″/]

If you’re looking for a more generic, long term training program, I’ve had quite a few people contact me about my latest training manual Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging

It’s 16 weeks that will get you in amazing shape. Check out the reviews.

Ice Climbing Training is sometimes a do-it-yourself task
Ice Climbing Training is sometimes a do-it-yourself task

Treadmill Training for Hills

Why would anyone consider treadmill training for hills?

Here are some of my favorite reasons:

  • Recovery from injury
  • Meeting specific goals
  • Controlled environment
  • Weather
  • Time
  • Local terrain

Let me take a few minutes to examine each of these reasons or excuses for treadmill training for hills.

First of all is recovery from injury. I myself am currently in this group. About a month ago I went for a hike with some 18-20 year old guys I know, and we ascended Mount Royal in Frisco CO. It was fun, but then they all decided to run down and I, like an old man in denial, decided to keep up with them. I did set a PR, but part of that is that I rarely run down, deciding instead (wisely) to preserve my knees.

Hiking group at the saddle on Mount Royal in Frisco, CO
Hiking group at the saddle on Mount Royal in Frisco, CO

So now, yeah, my knees are thrashed. I took a few weeks off, tried to get back into running, but the trails I can get to easily are all up and down, and the downhill was killing me. My knees would never recover on those trails, so I’ll be doing some treadmill training for hills.

Why? The steady incline allows me to set vertical goals without having to endure the descent. This will allow me to maintain some mileage while giving my knees a chance to heal.

Second advantage to treadmill training for hills is that it facilitates meeting specific goals. If you have a goal that includes speeds, or elevation gains, or heart rate, it’s a lot easier to measure, monitor, and track on a treadmill. Need to go 3.0 miles at 5%? Just set it and forget it on the treadmill.

Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S treadmill training for hills
Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S on the handle of the treadmill

If your goal also includes a heart rate, such as with Anaerobic Threshold Training ARTICLE HERE you can set the watch up in view and then adjust your speed up and down to maintain your heart rate in the prescribed zone. That’s a lot harder to do outside.

Third, it’s a controlled environment. You can wear whatever you want, the incline can be as steady or varied as you want, the speed can be anything you want. There is a bathroom just down the hall. You can refill your water or supplement bottles all you want.

Fourth, is weather. Treadmill training for hills avoids a lot of the complications of the weather and time. When it comes right down to it, if you want to practice being completely and totally soaked and frozen, with sheets of ice on your pants, then it’s probably a lot of fun to go do that outside. But you can’t promise that you will be able to maintain your pace, distance, heart rate, or any of your other goals while struggling for survival.

Winter Trail Running Salomon Spikecross on snowcat tracks
Winter Trail Running Salomon Spikecross on snowcat tracks

Fifth is time. This is a big deal for a lot of people. Sometimes that awesome hill climb route is an hour or more away, You can’t really justify taking that much time out of your day when there is a treadmill in your own home, your own apartment complex, or the gym on the way to work.

Sixth, is local terrain. There are a lot of people who have contacted me with the sad fact that there are no hills in their area. There is a lot to be said for running 5 miles at 6% incline. You can’t really duplicate that experience with stadium running, which really does use very different muscles. For hiking that would be great, but not for running. Some people advocate hill repeats on a 50′ hill, if you have access to one. That might work great for sprint training, but it doesn’t quite duplicate that same type of endurance that 5 miles at 6% does. Treadmill training for hills solves that problem in a very handy, easy to find, easy to use method.

How to use treadmill training for hills

Vertical training protocols are the main focus of my book “Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging” and I really suggest you get one if you’re serious about planning a program around vertical goals. It takes you from “the couch” to nearly 4,000′ of vertical per week over a 16 week period, which I feel is a worthy goal for most anyone who is not used to hills.

Treadmill training for hills helped me ascend Orizaba quickly
Treadmill training for hills helped me ascend Orizaba quickly

While the book is specific to hiking, the goal charts include vertical and horizontal goals that you can also achieve through increasing the speed on the treadmill while running on it. That also means you can spend less time on the treadmill, since you’ll be moving twice or more as fast. In my own training I use a similar set of protocols.

Here is a sample of a treadmill training chart as used in the manual, adjusted for 4% inclination, rather than the goal incline of 15% used for hiking:

Week 5 6 7 8
Target Weekly Vertical Ft 1,130 1,255 1,395 1,550
Weekly Miles at 4% 5.349 5.943 6.604 7.338
Incline Miles Per Session (x4) 1.337 1.486 1.651 1.834

As you can see, if you’re a runner it’s really easy to get these miles in every week. If you’re a beginning runner it shouldn’t be too hard either.

I wanted to introduce you to the idea of treadmill training for hills, and give you a few of the best reasons for doing it. I also wanted to show you an example training goal chart, modified for running from my training manual.

In an upcoming article I will explain how to adjust all the charts in the manual for running, rather than hiking, and talk a little bit about using VAM for training goals.

VAM is the abbreviation for the Italian term velocità ascensionale media, translated in English to mean “average ascent speed” or “mean ascent velocity”, but usually referred to as VAM. — WIKI

Thanks, and let me know if there are any questions or things I did not explain adequately.

Treadmill Training for Hills in my own garage
Treadmill training for hills in my own garage

Nordic Walking Training

Nordic walking training might seem to be simply walking with trekking poles. It’s much more complicated than that though. When I was in Russia for Elbrus Race 2013 I had the opportunity to spend a few days with the women members of a Russian Nordic Walking group that stayed with us and did some training at altitude on the slopes of Elbrus. I enjoyed watching their morning stretching routine and certain aspects of that portion of Nordic walking training made its way into my recent book Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging. CLICK HERE

Nordic walking training dynamic stretching move
Nordic walking training dynamic stretching move

If you cringe whenever you see someone ambling, shuffling slowly, poking forward with their poles, and their straps on wrong, you’re a Nordic walker.

The point of this 16 week program is vertical training, and is well suited as Nordic walking training. Many of the photos in the book feature trekking poles as part of the exercises. I think that by bringing up your vertical and horizontal speed and endurance you can achieve greater things in your sports goals. Most of my speed ascents are done with poles and I suggest training outside with poles at every opportunity.

Tips: Some things to keep in mind include rhythm and placement. If you can coordinate your arm and leg rhythms you’ll become much more efficient. I’ve found that if you are moving on steep terrain with shorter leg motions you can use shorter faster pole placements. If you’re using longer steps you can alternate pole placements in patterns of two or three steps each and reach further forward. If you’re moving very quickly you might want to actually place the tips of the poles near the outside edge of your foot with the pole angled toward the rear as you pass quickly.

Nordic walking training on the slopes of Elbrus in Russia - 2013
Nordic walking training on the slopes of Elbrus in Russia – 2013

I think a good Nordic walking training program also includes a bit of strength endurance for the upper body, particularly the lats, shoulders, and chest. These muscles work together to provide strong and fluid pole placements essential for Nordic walking efficiency.

Nordic Walking Training Video Example Close Pole

In this example I’m running at about 9:00 pace (nine minute mile) on snowshoes, and due to the speed and short steps I’m using the close pole technique. Notice that I don’t really reach forward much but push to the rear in short powerful strokes. I experimented with this technique after watching Nordic skiers in the last Olympics.

If you’d like to see the best Nordic walking training for vertical and horizontal goals (vertical feet gained and miles) check out my book on Amazon, both Kindle and Paperback. Eligible for Prime and Kindle Unlimited.

CLICK HERE FOR NORDIC WALKING TRAINING

Farmers Carry Workout

Here’s the Farmers Carry Workout I’ve developed over the last few weeks. It’s good for my trail running and hiking and I’m sure it would be worth your while to watch the short video for my own variation on a Farmers Carry Workout, posted to my youtube channel.

With this Farmers Carry Workout I’m doing the following:

  1. 25 Trapbar Deadlifts at 65 lb.
  2. 100 steps with Trapbar
  3. 100 Kicks – running high knee, high heel drill
  4. Walking back to the Trapbar and picking it up

I did 12 repetitions of that sequence over a total of 1.5 miles. Over that distance I did 300 Trapbar Deadlifts. I did 1200 steps with the Trapbar. I did 1200 Kicks running drill steps. I walked some distance I didn’t count back to the bar. Since there were so many reps involved I used 65 pounds as my weight for this session. It was about 40 minutes long.

One of my favorite variations is to do RDL (Romanian Dead Lift) instead of the regular deadlifts. I am looking forward to doing Sprints intead of the Kicks. I’ll probably try some with Bounding. The farmers carry workout sequences could be really intense if you do them without much rest. You set the bar down and pause for a second before your Kicks. You walk back to the bar and pick it up. The walking could be the closest thing to a rest that you get if you do it this way.

You could do just about anything you want with yours, if you decide to create your own farmers carry workout. I especially like the way that it’s good for my shoulders, upper back and grip. These are important with ice climbing training. Did I mention that ice climbing starts up here at 10,000′ in Colorado in the next 8 or so weeks?

The Running Kicks Drill as done in my farmers carry workout
The Running Kicks Drill as done in my farmers carry workout

If you have a favorite farmers carry workout I’d love for you to share it with me. I’m open to all kinds of interesting suggestions. Just comment below or on my Facebook Page [CLICK HERE].

Farmers Carry Workout in my new book?

I’m just about done with the final edit of my upcoming Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging. CHECK IT OUT. I have to say though that as a beginner training manual there won’t be a farmers carry workout in it. Perhaps in my intermediate training manual. I’ll save that for next year.

Until then, I hope you enjoyed my farmers carry workout video and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Can you add this to your own workout mix? Let me know.