Running is “the most natural form of exercise we can do as humans.” – Michael Arnstein.
Michael Arnstein is a New York businessman that has run over 40 ultra-distance races in eight years. He eats raw fruit and vegetables for his diet, and has done so for more than four years. He puts an emphasis on fruits with super-high water content like tomatoes, papaya, oranges, and watermelon. This lecture on the subject of ultra running is the most informative video series available on the subject. I’ve found nothing else even comparable. Sure other ultra-runners could have made something similar, but Michael really goes into depth on the subject of the 4 stages of ultra running.
What are they?
The 4 Stages of Ultra-running:
I really enjoy how Michael goes into the emotional experience of running ultras in these videos.
“Ultra running is an extreme state of existence.”
Video 1 – Ultra Running Stages:
Video 2 – Ultra Running Aids and Their Effect on Recovery:
Video 3 – Ultra Running Specific Training Recommendations:
I’ve been doing some controlled hyperventilating to see what effect it has on my performance on the long stair climbs and on the mountain peak trail I climb often. Here’s how I go about it…
I don’t use this ventilation technique frequently, but just when I am putting out an extra hard effort and I think it may help. I am usually 20-30 minutes into a climb when I’ll be approaching a steep section of trail or steps. As I approach the section I start forcibly hyperventilating – breathing fast and shallow for about 30 seconds.
My experience is that I feel like I have more energy for 30 seconds to 1 minute after the steep section starts. I feel like I have more energy than what I would have had without having done the forced breaths.
I used it today on the mountain during an extra steep section, and once the effect wore off I did it again in the middle of the hard section and I felt like I was able to finish with more energy and speed up that difficult section of mountain.
Again, I don’t do this often enough to really get a feel for whether or not it is definitely helping. But, I would guess it is helping me by giving me somewhere around 15% more power for a short time.
Does that make sense to any of you that routinely push your bodies past the limit?
Can some of you try this and see what you think?
I am not sure whether the body is able to inhale enough oxygen during peak efforts (90%+ of max heart rate) to give the muscles all the oxygen they need. If so, then this technique is probably worthless. However, if there is some bottleneck at the lungs where the lungs just can’t get enough oxygen in to fuel the muscle contractions – then maybe this does work.
I am guessing that it works – it sure feels like it does. But, it could be due to my expectation of it working – and might not really be a true benefit at all.
You know how the mind works! It’s powerful beyond measure. It could definitely trick you into thinking whatever you’re doing – has some effect.
Curious if anyone out there is doing this. Let me know in the comments if you would.
[Photo credit – Rick McCharles at flickr.com]
I just found something by a guy that may know what he’s talking about. It directly contradicts my idea of hyperventilation providing some benefit before exercising very hard.
Here’s his answer:
Chris Larson, Post-doc/Fellow Laboratory of Genetics
Area of science: Biochemistry
First, there is no benefit to hyperventilation. Hyperventilation, which consists of taking short, quick breaths in rapid succession, seems like a way to get more air in your lungs. However, researchers have shown that (i) you take in a smaller volume of air than when you breath normally, and this leads to (ii) an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide and decrease in the concentration of oxygen in both your lungs and blood. Certainly hyperventilation before any exercise is counterproductive, and after exercise athletes are encouraged to take as deep of breaths as possible since this will speed the exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen.
I’ll keep looking to see if I find anything to contradict this. If true, it makes me marvel even more about the power of the human brain as we exercise. Here I am, definite that I feel a benefit to breathing hard and fast for a while before a major effort. As it turns out, it may actually be counterproductive!
Here is some info I put together for a fellow runner, that I thought I’d just drop in here and make an article about too. When I first got the ultra-running bug I combed the internet for things that interested me about the sport. The first thing I found was an ebook at Amazon called, “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. (I don’t make anything from that link)
After reading the book, I knew a couple key players in the sport, and looked them up on Youtube videos. I found a lot of amazing videos and then found a guy that put together a great information site for ultrarunners called – IRUNFAR.com. Bryon Powell put that site together and it’s the ultimate ultra site as far as I’m concerned. If you know another that is also good – do let me know so I can check it out and possibly mention it here. I just bought Bryon’s book, “Relentless Forward Progress” on Amazon about ultra-running, and I think it can be considered the Bible on the sport. Excellently written and very interesting.
My all-time favorite video was posted by Anton Krupicka at his little known akcipurk user name at Youtube (Krupicka backwards). It is an amazing video, the absolute ultimate ultra-running video in my book. It was done by Kilian Jornet hand-holding a video camera (GoPro?) as he and Anton ran up the Grand Tetons mountain on a sunny day. It’s amazing to watch them passing people with all their climbing gear – just amazed that these two ultra-running gods are able to scale the mountain that fast and get down without gear or even water!
So, I RUN FAR is the go-to site for all info about the top ultra runners. Brian Powell has done amazing, insightful interviews both pre- and post-race with the best guys / gals in the world.
Some of the coolest and most interesting guys I’ve found to follow:
Kilian Jornet – from Spain and with a French last name. He’s breaking all sorts of mountain running race records. Excellent climber and technical runner. Hates roads. Incredible descender over technical trail. The best. Sponsored by Salomon gear / shoes. His personality will pull you to him, you’ll love him too after watching some of his interviews. He’s like a boy that gets to play in the mountains. He’s unassuming, friendly, and living in the moment every time I see him in a new video. An excellent role-model for kids and adults.
Anton Krupicka (kroo pich ka) – lives in Boulder, CO. Looks like Christ incarnate. Also despises roads. Sponsored by a number of companies. Typically runs and trains without shirt, and it looks like no socks either. From the midwest originally. Also has a personality that you’ll gravitate toward. He is laid back and just seems like a real quality person. Anton’s blog.
Sage Canaday – young guy from Canada, he is now living in Colorado. Road racing background. Loves roads, not a great descender but getting better all the time. Ascents are getting very good. Sponsored by about 5 corporations including a brewery and HOKA shoes. Sage has a lot of energy, passion, and seems to also be quite a good guy. His videos on YouTube are great! Sage’s blog.
Rob Krar – just won the UROC race mentioned above. He was just sponsored by North Face. Road running background. Originally Canadian (Ontario).
Dakota Jones – Young guy – about 23? Dakota has written some awesome articles on the IRUNFAR.com site. He has a way with words, as does Anton Krupicka – just different ways. Love them both. Dakota just got 2nd in this UROC championship race. Amazing! That Dakota Jones blog.
Scott Jurek – This guy has won many ultra-distance running races and is just getting back into it again after a hiatus. Scott was the considered the best ultra-runner for a long period of time. Scott’s Eat and Run blog.
Bryon Powell – ex-ultra runner, or maybe he still does some. He created, along with his girlfriend, Meghan Hicks, the IRUNFAR.com site. Many top ultra runners do guest posts there too. Great reading. He lives in Moab, Utah and is traveling the ultra circuit most times. He wrote the must-read book for all noob ultra-runners – Relentless Forward Progress. Get it at Amazon in digital or paperback formats.
Ok that’s about it – just want to bring you up to speed on some of the top resources and people in the sport. I’m a noob myself, so there are plenty of people I don’t yet know in the sport. There are plenty of resources I haven’t found. If you have something to share – do let me know in the comments and I’ll consider adding it here.
Definitely read the Born To Run book when you have the time! Micah True, now deceased, is a great character as is Barefoot Ted, Scott Jurek, and some others are also in the book.
Here’s my favorite video of all time, set to some great music. I’m sure the band is going to complain and remove the video from Youtube if Anton didn’t get express permission for it, so if you can, download it and save it on your phone and computer for future use.
Expand the video to the largest size, so it fills your screen for the best experience!