Gretchen Reynolds has a good piece out today in the New York Times 'Well' section in which she interviews Mark Verstegen, the team fitness trainer for Germany's World Cup winning football team. Interestingly, his appointment was initially met with scepticism, but the results obviously speak for themselves. Here's a taster of his insight into improving your fitness:
Training at altitude over 1,800m has the ability to boost oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Even if you've only just a week to spare, training in the mountains can provide both physical and mental benefits that will last for several weeks after you return to a lower altitude. There's a good article on how altitude training can boost performance on the Runner's World site - click here to read more.
Find out more about our Tracks & Trails trail running camps this summer here
Many of us that struggle to find enough time to dedicate to training wonder how best to develop our VO2 max, given busy lives and tight schedules ('VO2 max' is shorthand for maximal oxygen uptake, a standard measure of aerobic fitness). In actual fact about 50% of our VO2 maximum is innate i.e. it's based on our own genetics… so you're to some extent blessed with being born relatively fit, or rather less so. That however does mean that the remaining 50% is in essence entirely up to you!
Spring is in the air and the warmer weather is definitely an added incentive to step outside and get more exercise. With busy lives it can be a little difficult, however, to manage schedules and make time for a lengthy workout… How, then, to maximise the ‘return on investment’ for those precious minutes you’re really able to be active each day?
WHY TRAIN FOR A WALKING HOLIDAY? It’s just a long walk, right? Not a race! So why train? Alpine walking holidays offer unbeatable views and memories but it should not be under estimated as to how challenging it can be on the body. The fitter you are the more likely you’ll enjoy every step of your holiday, and it's more likely you are to complete each day in good time with ease. The aim of adding some training in before your trip to the Alps is it will ensure that each day on trail is well within your comfort zone – ie easy! – rather than a struggle.