Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mountain Madness!

There are numerous benefits to running off pavement – here’s a few off the top of my head.

1) Running on organic matter like dirt, leaves, wood, gravel and pine needles reduces the impact on the knees and lowers the strain on the body’s connective tissue. You are less likely to experience knee pain, shin splints and body aches. 2) Limitless fresh air and less pollution is invigorating. 3) Varied terrain keeps the ankles and knees strong while making the runs more engaging and interesting 4) Aerobic threshold and red line training via hills and stairs is vital to improving the aerobic capacity of the heart as well as improving the ability of your body to transport and utilize oxygen. 5) No Traffic – $#@*!! … Need I say more? 6) Besides improvements to your body’s overall aerobic power, balance, and connective tissue... mountain running also provides the mental toughness and confidence associated with fartlek training.

What is fartlek? (Oh - excuse me!) Ha Ha - No really, it’s Swedish for “speed play”. By adjusting the speed and intensity of training and you can stress the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems which can progressively overload your body and cause the training adaption you’re looking for. It also feels good. Why? When you exercise in this capacity you body produces more of the good hormones like endorphins and serotonin. These do natural wonders to your body like lift your mood, lower your blood pressure, and increase your desire for healthy eating. It will help you feel energized and even make you sleep better at night. Farlek training is a perfect base to commence high intensity training in preparing for other sports. Generally speaking – it can benefit every part of your life.

Commencing March 3rd and until May 26th (12 weeks) I will be organizing a trail running clinic and periodized running program to help you actualize your athletic best for the summer of 2010. The cost is $250.00 for 10 sessions over a 12 week period (allowing two extra weeks for missed sessions). I have space for 10 runners in the program, and 8 seats for transport per week.

Sound Appealing? I can help you accomplish all this and more. Just drop me a line at the email above.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Are you Ready?

For the second Wellness-Vancouver post I was devising strategies to get you all fired up on push-ups and motivational Hoo-Raah. But no, with the Vancouver Olympics only two days away, I thought I’d give you my two cents on how this international event might be relevant for your training, and how you can use it as a basis to actualize your own athletic goals. Right now as a Vancouverite, whether you love it, or loathe it, there is something fundamental in these games that I’d like you to pay attention to.

So, the Greeks along with ouzo and baklava had some notable additions in the form of art, architecture, philosophy, and medicine. It’s also no secret that they held the first Olympics back in 776BC. But more inherently, have you ever noticed that there is four-year gap from the summer-to-summer and winter-to-winter Olympics? It’s not an oversight. Greeks long ago recognized the importance specific phases in an athletes training and continual improvement and thus initiated the concept of periodized training cycles.

Even though it was the first Olympians who laid the foundation for athletic peroidization, the roots of today’s techniques come from a Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye. He created a theory known as the General Adaptation Syndrome or GAS. His work describes the biological responses to stress and has been used by the athletic community since the 1950s - and for which he received the Order of Canada in 1968. (We’ll just chalk that one up with Hockey, Lacrosse, and Basketball)

Eustress a term coined by Selye is defined as stress that is healthy, or gives one a feeling of fulfillment or other positive feelings. Eustress is a process of exploring potential gains and avoiding the detrimental stresses called "distress". In athletics, when physical stress is at a healthy level (eustress), an athlete experiences muscular strength and growth, while excessive physical stress (distress) can lead to tissue damage, disease, and death. Periodization is most widely used in program design to avoid over-training and to which systematically alternates between high loads of training with decreased loading phases to improve components of muscular fitness (e.g. strength, strength-speed, and strength-endurance).

Periodic training systems typically divide time up into three types of cycles: microcycle, mesocycle, and macrocycle. The microcycle is generally up to 7 days. The mesocycle may be anywhere from 2 weeks to a few months, but is typically a month. A macrocycle refers to the overall training period, usually representing a year or two. There are longer cycles as well, being 4 or 8 years and is the career plan which is usually only considered for Olympians and professional athletes.

Next, the difficulty I’m beginning to recognize from many of you, is that you keep the same old routine. You report to me that your not making consistent or continual progress and feel like there is a plateau in your health, power, strength, or endurance status. I’ll make reference to the old adage – “ if you keep doin’ what you’re doin’ - your gunna keep gettin’ what you’re gunna get.”

So – here’s my point. For all of you who want to be at the top of your game for this summer, you need to commence on a periodized program now. Whether your goal is a triathlon, looking good at the beach, climbing the Squamish Chief, or increasing the length your golf drive - now is the time to start the athletic cycle.

Starting on March 3rd 2010 (two weeks short of the spring equinox) you can join me at the Bentall Centre Athletic Club to initiate your cross training periodization. I’m offering you 10 sessions over the following 12 weeks of heart pounding fun. No matter what your athletic pursuit, by attending my trail running clinic through Vancouver’s best off-pavement terrain you will you receive the highest quality systematic adaptation to stimulus, and the preparation you need to realize your best this year. Not to mention fresh air, commitment to your goals, quality coaching, and transportation. There are 10 spaces available. Please contact me at cameron.a.hunt@gmail.com

Monday, February 1, 2010

My first Ramblings

To Play, to be amused, to enjoy the moment without judgements is to have access to the child within. What I’m suggesting is that tapping into your inner youth is essential for creativity, the functioning of imagination, the appreciation of beauty, the perception of art and music and poetry, and the expression of sheer joy. I insist that allowing the child inside oneself to play is fundamental to personal sanity and a livable society. Play is not only recreation, but, in a finer sense of the word, is a matter of creation and re-creation. And in the creation of fun, of play, of joy, there is a gift – this gift is an active mind, an active body, and a healthy soul.

So, what does all this philosophy mean? In simpler terms… When I think of all the sorrows and regrets of my life, not one of them is associated with the times I’ve stopped working and took time off to play.

Yaaaaa hoooooooo!!!