Tag: running

NiteRider TL 5.0 SL Tail Light

Available on AMAZON 

The NiteRider TL 5.0 SL tail light. Long name, simple light. It’s got a few flashy settings to make sure you are visible to vehicles. I got it to replace my 20 year old tail light that finally disintegrated. Here it is, fresh out of the box. I’m going to use it first for running in the pre-dawn darkness on the highways and rec paths of Utah County.

NiteRider TL 5.0 SL Tail Light Video Introduction

 


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”]

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

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.



Steady State Cardio

I was reading this article HERE on T-Nation “The Death of Steady State Cardio” by Rachel Cosgrove. A very long time ago, when I was an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer I attended a trainer workshop in Las Vegas that featured a session with Alwyn Cosgrove, Rachel’s husband. I don’t remember if she was there or not now. It was a very long time ago and I was very busy taking notes from Alwyn’s presentation on client mobility assessments.

AF Canyon Half Marathon in Utah
AF Canyon Half Marathon in Utah

Anyway, like most of these “Steady State Cardio” articles it tries to convince us that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is the ultimate and thus only option for training of any type including long distance events, like the Half Marathon. I’ve commented a few times, and shared articles and links to articles about these training protocols. For one thing, a Half Marathon is a relatively short distance, and isn’t a good example of endurance training protocols. I think anyone who has got one under their belts would be able to keep training for them with less than 5 hours a week of running training.

Did you see my article “The One Exercise You Must Never Do…

My own interpretation of this kind of slamming of “Steady State Cardio” is that we’re having a difference of opinion in what that term means. Assuming you slog along at some pace for a few hours and that’s what they mean by steady state cardio, then how about slogging along for a few hours at a 6:00 pace. That’s a six minute mile pace. It’s about a 2:38 marathon or two hours and thirty eight minute marathon. Not too shabby, but not a record either. So let’s do a few hours at 6:00 and get fat, as the articles all stipulate. To be honest with you I cannot run at that pace for more than a hundred (100) yards at a time. So I can’t offer an opinion on how that feels afterward. I cannot do that as steady state cardio.

Treadmill Running at 100% HR Max (220 - AGE formula)
Treadmill Running at 100% HR Max (220 – AGE formula)

Fine then, let’s interpret this from the perspective of Heart Rate. Find your Max Heart Rate, and let’s just do the simple version (220 – AGE). That’s your Maximum Heart Rate (estimated). Let’s do a two hour slog at 100%. That’s steady state, right? Just adjust the speed up and down as needed to stay at that 100% for a couple hours. My graph above shows me doing just that for a little over an hour. It’s not very easy. If you don’t believe me get your cardiologists okay and go for it. Go ahead, then comment below about how fat you feel having done that. Suunto says I’ll have a metabolic effect for 46 hours afterward. That’s a lot of fat burning BTW.

HIIT - heavy weights in the gym with little rest
HIIT – heavy weights in the gym with little rest

As a contrast, here’s my weight session with a 5 hour metabolic effect. Sweet. This is mostly supersets of squats and chinups with very little rest followed by shoulder presses and lat pulldowns. It was a great workout and I really burned the fat. 5 hours worth. Yeah. To be honest that is about 1/9 the effect of my 100% Heart Rate treadmill running workout. But I do weights because I enjoy them and they provide the support my endurance endeavors require. Running uphill requires strong legs. Climbing requires strong shoulders and back.

Steady State Cardio Roots

I think the root of the problem is that some warped peer-reviewed study of people who don’t work out found out that their fuel source wobbling along at a 60% Heart Rate was primarily fat. With fat as a fuel source you could potentially stay on the treadmill all day long burning fat at the “Steady State Cardio” rate of 60% Heart Rate ((220 – AGE) X .6). For me that’s 100 BPM (Beats Per Minute). That would totally suck to be on a treadmill at that speed for any more than a warm-up.

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

One major issue with this is that as we train, our bodies adapt and it’s harder to actually accomplish anything at that heart rate. If we were to wander around on a treadmill at that Heart Rate for a couple hours we’d just be hungry and thirsty and achieve nothing for our health. These articles are correct about that, so long as they’re actually talking about this version of “Steady State Cardio” and not the previous two examples I shared.

This brings us around to the Elephant in the Room. Specificity. Steve House pointed out in his Alpine Training seminar that you have only so much time at 80% and greater Heart Rate, so your approach, maybe two hours, across steep rough terrain, carrying a 40 pound backpack, has to be done at less than that to conserve energy for the climb. You need to train walking 6 miles or so at various inclinations, carrying a 40 pound backpack, while keeping your Heart Rate around 70%. This is a sports specific training objective.

 50 pound backpack on a Jacob's Ladder is Steady State Cardio
50 pound backpack on a Jacob’s Ladder is Steady State Cardio

If you analyze your sport of choice for the requirements, you will get a much better perspective on what is actually required in your training. If you’re wanting to ride a century, you’ll need to get into the groove of spending 5 or more hours in the saddle at a time. You don’t do that tossing kettlebells across the room and returning in a bear crawl dragging chains.

On the flip side, various studies have shown that there is some limited endurance effect to a HIIT protocol. Hence the Crossfitters tossing out stuff like

“you won’t be able to do a marathon, but you can have a fast 5k”

This has given rise to the whole “close enough” or “good enough” protocols like Tabata. I have experimented with Tabata, and a strict Tabata protocol is very difficult to do. I think a lot of the Tabata articles are kind of like taking Yoga at the gym from a facilitator that took a weekend workshop. I also have my doubts that anyone is going to win a SkiMo race after spending a year training for 16 minutes a week.

“Great. But I am doing a marathon” you might say.

Aspen Backcountry Marathon Finish
Aspen Backcountry Marathon Finish

Some hype is being generated about various HIIT style marathon training, but so far no one (as of this writing that I am aware of) has come off the couch and finished a marathon with a good time using this methodology. All of the hype is based on majorly injured previous winners going on to good times using HIIT style training. They already have the gas in the tank so to speak from the long hours of endurance training they used to do and the HIIT training is just keeping the muscle fibers warm and ripe.

If you have read my previous article about Anaerobic Threshold Training HERE you’d see how I feel this is a great alternative to the classic maligned “Steady State Cardio” though in this style of training you’re riding a very fine line, a steady line, of your Heart Rate Target Goal. In my mind though that makes it a Steady State, though a very high state. It’s just a play on words. I wish that instead of ripping on “Steady State Cardio” they’d rip on Low HR Cardio.

It’s not Steady State Cardio that’s the problem, it’s the Low HR Cardio!

Marketing your HIIT programs though is a bit easier to do when you take advantage of how much people dislike wandering around on a treadmill for a couple hours at 60% Heart Rate. I hate doing that and I actually don’t mind being on a treadmill for two hours or so at a time.

Treadmill Interval Workouts

Have I mentioned several times already that I really like treadmill interval workouts? I wrote an article [HERE] in response to an article in Runner’s World recommending against doing treadmill interval workouts. Here’s a sample:

They claim that in order to bail you need to push buttons, whereas on the track you just slow to a stop. Well, to make it apples to apples, I think you’d need to just stop moving your legs on the track to see what happens. Just kidding, don’t do that. When it comes to bailing, all you have to do is grab the handles and jump up on the frame. It takes a half of a second. – Stay Injury Free on the Treadmill (SevenSummitsBody on Blogger)

I also discuss a few treadmill form tips and how to stay motivated and beat boredom if you want to go read that article.

treadmill interval workouts on an Incline Treadmill
Treadmill Interval Workouts on an Incline Treadmill at 5 AM while the family sleeps – 2013

Back to Back Treadmill Interval Workouts

That’s what I did today, March 27, 2014. First I got on the treadmill set at 3%, did about 15 minutes of warming up at up to about 4.5 MPH (MPH easier to use on treadmills than Pace). I did a test interval of a few minutes at 6.0 MPH followed by walking at 4.0 MPH. Keep in mind that my treadmill is at 9,400′ and that I’m 54 years old. My 100% HR (based on the 220-AGE formula) is 166 BPM. I did two Anaerobic Threshold workouts already this week [EXPLANATION] and one 75% zone workout. I am not recovered from those. That will explain a little bit about the numbers to come.

After my warm-up and cool-down I did an interval of 6.0 MPH followed by 4 intervals at 6.6 MPH. I was using a very simple 1:00/1:00 pattern. A minute high and a minute low. I stayed low then for a few minutes, since I hit my 100% level and needed a short break. I prefer a bit of flexibility which is why I don’t program in an interval training session in the presets.

I then did 3 intervals of (1:00 @ 6.8 / 2:00 @ 4.0). That’s one minute at 6.8 MPH and two minutes at 4.0 MPH. I walked most of the lower speed rests for these last three. At that point, my last glance at the treadmill was that I had gone just under 50:00, like 49:34 and 3.668 miles. I accidentally pulled the safety magnet off the console and it zero’ed out and stopped. Dang. I hate that. I need to superglue the magnet on. Drat. So I rounded it to 49:00 and 3.7 miles for my stats.

I raised the deck on my NordicTrack Incline Treadmill to 32% and began walking at 2.0 MPH. Immediately I realized something was wrong and I was running at what I guessed was about 4.0 MPH. At 32% that’s running. Try it and see. Anyway, I checked the readout and it said I was going 2.0 MPH. I slowed it to 1.0 MPH but still was running at 4.0 MPH. I stopped it and continued running as the belt kept moving. Then I unplugged the treadmill to reboot. This happened before once. The controller forgets to add tension to the motor so it’s nearly freewheeling at a very steep angle.

After the reboot everything was back to normal so after a too-long delay I got it up and running and began to walk on that steep incline at 2.0 MPH. Averaging 2.0 MPH at 32% is approximately 1000 VAM. My primary goal right now is Elbrus Race 2014 so working the VAM is essential to my training. [CLICK HERE] for an explanation if you’d like to know more.

After 9:00 @ 2.0 I did 1:00 @ 1.0 MPH. That’s a very long interval, but when I’m on a mountain I like going for as smooth and long of a pace that I can. Then I did 6:00 @ 2.0 / 1:00 @ 1.0 MPH. Getting a little shorter there but I was feeling pretty beat from my previous running interval. Finally I did 5:00 @ 2.0 / 2:00 @ 1.0 to finish. It felt good. One of my secondary goals was to get as close to 1000 VAM as possible. That’s why I was doing the really long intervals at 2.0 MPH.

I hung out for a bit cleaning up before I turned off my Suunto Ambit2 S Heart Rate Monitor and plugged it in for the stats. I spent quite a bit of time just under my 100% Heart Rate Zone. Do not do this! Unless of course you know for sure you can. The 200-AGE formula is just a starting point for average cardio training people to start with. When I’m rested I can spend time at 110%. I am guessing my actual Anaerobic Threshold to be around 166. I will get the blood test sometime but it’s much more difficult than it needs to be in CO. In UT it was a piece of cake and I didn’t take advantage of it while I was there. Maybe on a business trip…

Back to Back Treadmill Interval Workouts - stats on Movescount
Back to Back Treadmill Interval Workouts – stats on Movescount

I used my Incline Treadmill Calculator [HERE] to get my stats from the back to back treadmill interval workouts.

Treadmill Interval Workouts March 27 #1:

Time: 49:00
Distance: 3.7
Incline: 3%
Elevation Gain: 586.08'
Average MPH: 4.531
Average Pace: 13:15
Vertical/Hour: 718'
Vertical/Minute: 11.96'
VAM: 218.7

Treadmill Interval Workouts March 27 #2:

Time: 24:00
Distance: .728
Incline: 32%
Elevation Gain: 1230.03'
Average MPH: 1.82
Average Pace: 32:58
Vertical/Hour: 3075'
Vertical/Minute: 51.25'
VAM: 937.3

Treadmill Interval Workouts for You?

So now that I gave you all of this information about my own treadmill interval workouts, how does it relate to you? What information can you get from my examples?

  • Warm Up and Cool Down Sufficiently
  • Be ready to change gears in a heartbeat if needed
  • Get enough rest in the lower speed phases of your intervals
  • Mix it up with different inclinations and speeds
  • Set targets and goals that apply to your larger goals
  • Do a variety of training protocols over the weeks
  • Be sure to keep your eyes open to the big picture

I’ve been doing different types of treadmill interval workouts depending on my current goals, on what altitude I’m at, and what kind of treadmill I’m on. It also depends on what my previous workouts were that week as well as what workouts are coming up in the next week.

Don’t be afraid of these workouts. They’re as easy or difficult as you want to make them. Start out slow and work your way up. Remember that most of the running information you find on the internet, deep down inside, is meant for people running 7:30 miles. If that doesn’t apply to you then sort through it and find what you need and make it work for you.

If you have any questions, comment here or on my Facebook page. I’m happy to offer little suggestions or advice, and if you subscribe to the blog (little box to the upper right) you’ll get notices whenever I post a new article here.

Interval Training is perfect for the stop and go nature of rock climbing
Interval Training is perfect for the stop and go nature of rock climbing