Monday, November 26, 2012

Week in Review, Running Helps Sleep, and More on Altitude Training

Week in Review, Running Helps Sleep, and More on Altitude Training

Monday: 2 hours cross-country. Skied up Elk Creek and then along the water board road. Snow was thin, but manageable. Nice day of cross-training.

Tuesday: Telemark skiing at the resort. Nothing is open, so mostly just doing laps, practicing switch and playing in the park.

Wednesday: Longish run - 2:17, 1,300' gain, 15 miles. Givelo/Creekside/Fools Creek/Creekside/Northwest/back. Felt great all the way until about 1:45, then started to get tired and my pace slowed. First longish run in some time.

Thursday: More tele skiing at the resort.

Friday: Off - 6 hours walking and standing.

Saturday: 6 hours walking and standing. Interval/fartlek workout at night. 5x:30, 12x1:00-1:30. Really starting to enjoy these speed workouts. I run them at night, which makes them pretty fun. 8 miles, :58 minutes.

Sunday: 6 hours walking and standing. Mellow run with ~8 miles, 1,200' gain, :56 minutes.

A fun week, with some good cross-training mixed in. There is no snow, so it has been hard to mix in the cross-country, but on the other hand, running has still been good. However, the trails still have snow, especially the higher ones, so it has been a challenge to run anything that is longer then 5ish miles (without making it an out-and-back). We really need snow, as the drought conditions continue to get worse. However, the sunsets continue to be spectacular every night (see below).

Two new studies have been published. The first is some good news about running in general, and specifically running in adolescents. The study looked at whether daily running in the morning helps adolescents and their sleep patterns. Turns out it does. In the group of kids that did daily running, within 3 weeks the authors found that slow-wave sleep increased while sleep onset latency decreased. Slow-wave sleep is critical in the developing brain, as this is the time when the body recovers from the days activities, but also when short-term memories are consolidated into long-term memories. That is, the actual final process in learning takes place during slow-wave sleep. So in young kids, fostering components that help with slow-wave sleep helps them learn, as everything they "learned" during the day must be consolidated from the day's short-term memory into the longer-term memory.

The other study looked at the benefits of altitude training. Although there have been many studies on this, and the science on altitude training is still out, there are some results that point to its benefits if done correctly. The most recent study looked at whether a pre-season altitude camp would improve time-trial performance and haemoglobin mass in elite athletes. After 19 days, the authors found that most players gained benefits, and that after four weeks of returning to a lower altitude, benefits still persisted.


  1. The lack of snow is definitely bad, and it is even worse down here. Are you having to run with any type of traction aids?

    Good article links, too - thanks for posting those.

  2. Good to see you are doing well and hitting the trails! No, no traction is needed right now. The trails that are runnable don't get as packed and icy as they do down on the front range - I have switched over to a pair of shoes with Gore-Tex however for the winter.