Back in 2010 I decided to run my first marathon. Unlike most people who pick an “easy”, flat road course, I decided to go the opposite direction and chose one of the toughest ones in the country: The Leadville Trail marathon.
With the starting line at over 10,000 feet, course elevation gain total over 7500 feet (including a 13er summit) and loose, rocky terrain I had my work cut out for me.
When race day arrived I thought I was prepared. I had been trail running for over 10 years at that point, fit in all my long runs and did several 14ers for high altitude training.
However, I distinctly remember my greatest weaknesses on the course: my power hiking skills and ability to run long, sustained climbs. I had done a ton of trail running to train but very little power hiking. “Why hike when I could run?”, I wrongly assessed.
If you’ve ever experienced altitude sickness (aka Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS), you know that it is not to be triffled with.
Nausea, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath. All classic symptoms of this condition that can impact anyone at any time, regardless of physical fitness or acclimatization status.
With the popularity of high mountain races (Leadville trail run series, Spartan Breckenridge obstacle course races, etc) and summit chasing, learning how to prevent and mitigate AMS can mean a more enjoyable and successful experience.
Check out our 5 helpful tips for your next big adventure into the high mountains:
With mud run and obstacle course race season well underway warm temperatures here to stay it’s time to take your training to the the great outdoors. Here is another workout featured from our partner site Daily Outdoor Workouts.
This is a buddy workout. You need at least one other person to complete this workout or else plan on doing a TON of reps!If you have kids, no excuses! They can ride in the stroller, bike or run with you! Plan on 60-90 minutes for this one…
A running route that passes at least 2 playgrounds or parks. The further away the parks you choose, the longer/harder your workout!
A bar or tree with a branch you can hang from
Warm-up and then………. Run to the first park and complete the following with your partner (split the reps however you choose):
Run to park #2 and complete the following (split the reps with your partner):
100 meter alligator crawl (do this one together)*
75 park bench box jumps (or step-ups for level 1)
50 Tree hugger situps*
25 burpee pop-ups or pullups
OPTION 1: Run home- great job! OPTION 2: Run 1 mile away from the last park and back THEN repeat the entire workout in reverse(starting with the 25 burpee pop-ups and going up from there) before heading home. You are a rock star!
This is a workout I put together for our sister site. It’s a perfect workout to build upper body and grip strength needed to conquer the monkey bars, rigs, rope/wall climbs and cargo nets for your obstacle course race. Plus, working out on the playground is fun!!
Set of monkey bars
Warm-up: Walk/jog 1 minute 20 arm circles each direction 20 straight leg lifts each leg 10 pushups repeat 1 time
Monkey bar set (1 of each): Forwards Side-ways Backwards Hand over hand Skipping a bar Crawl using feet (video demonstration below)
A couple of weekends ago I competed in my first obstacle race of the season and my first Spartan race in the elite category.
There have been plenty of people posting race reports recapping the event so I wanted to compose a post that details more about what worked and what didn’t in my training in the hopes there might be some takeaways that will help others properly prepare and train for such an event.
To start, let me say that you can never be perfectly prepared for any obstacle course race, let alone a Spartan race for that matter. Even if the race is at the same venue year after year, the course and the obstacles themselves can change drastically.
I am also training for some long distance trail races, culminating with an ultra marathon run of the Grand Canyon or the Rim to Rim to Rim. With 42 miles and 11,000 feet elevation gain, this is a Goliath of an event and so running will always take the priority when it comes to training.
My strategy back in 2015 was to train for speed. I was having some pretty major health issues back then so I wasn’t able to really put in the time to build a good running base. So I spent several hours a week doing crossfit classes and speed work on the track. And it paid off, compared to this year I was definitely much stronger and faster.