Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Running Camp in Flagstaff, Arizona

And one day at running camp....
-we learned about hill running
-injury prevention
-pain and when to keep running through it and when to fold
-mental toughness
-Nate likes to wear ballerina clothes, Rob's a metronome and 
everything is caused by electrolite imbalance (NOT!)

Two years ago I went to RxRunning Camp and loved it so much I came back this year dragging John behind me.  The camp almost doubled in size from 2 years ago with 9 campers to 16 campers this year.  Still a great small size to bond with campers and have one on one time with Coach Dean.

When I told people I was going to running camp all you heard was silence.  They didn't know if they heard me right and they know they can't follow with the customary, non-committal, "that sound like fun" comment. "What do you do at running camp?" was usually the next question.

Of course up at running camp we run and we started Thursday morning in Flagstaff after introductions with a run. Acclimating to the altitude is no small feat when up in Flagstaff at 7000ft. Sucking wind accurately describes that first run up in the altitude for this out of shape runner. It was only about 2-3 miles but it was tough catching my breath.

Each day there was an opportunity to run one or two runs. Coach Dean is smart enough not to run his campers into the ground and our runs were specific and quality.  For example, our first run incorporated fartleks.  5K pace for about 1/4 mile; one mile pace for about 100m and then easy running.  Rinse and repeat.   Another run was hills both passive and OMG this sucks hills...oh, but it's short.  A steep, short hill finished in about 30 seconds and your learned about the OMG hills.  On Friday night when the rest of the world was out partying some of us donned our headlamps for our second run of the day and went out for a night run in search of skunks.  Luckily I didn't see one but Rob, a third year camp attendee, saw his now infamous skunk third year in a row.

At running camp we learn drills for warming up and exercises for preventing injuries.  I, being well versed in injury exercises, demonstrated  some exercises, while Meredith showed off her skills in using bands making everything look soooo easy.  Even though I only demonstrated  a couple exercises briefly, my shoulders were sore the next day. This soreness would haunt me on our graduation run.

A giant benefit to RxRunning Camp is Dean is a certified mental games coach.  I firmly believe this isn't something you gain from other coaches or running camps. As you know, running is often a mental game that affects your every day runs and races. Did you know that you can practice during your regular runs what you want to do during your races?  And by practicing you can more easily implement during races or bad runs?  At running camp the lectures talked about the mental game and what you can do to change your own self talk.

Another benefit to Coach Dean running the camp is his philosophy is science based.   Coach Dean doesn't support the "findings" found in popular running magazines or "fat burn" taught in classes or supplements and he has the studies to support it.  A more current study says that cramping is NOT caused by dehydration or electrolite imbalances. This is contrary to what you'll find in studies conducted by the sports drink companies.

Each morning run starts at 6am and on our final morning I awoke to John telling me the alarm was going off.  The two mornings before I was awake well before the alarm going off so that tells you how tired I was from running each day and doing exercises to actually be pulled from sleep by an alarm.  Our final run was a hard, miserable,hill run up to the top of the  Lowell Observatory.  But you know what, that hard, miserable, crappy run was more satisfying that watching my favorite movie or enjoying a chai tea.  Two years ago at camp I cried running up that hill and this year, even though I was out of shape, I just kept trudging up the hill. Nina and Denise were walking a steep part of the hill and probably wish I wasn't behind them because I made them start running again.  Nina and I continued up and finished with a high five at the top. My legs didn't hurt and although my breathing was labored, my arms hurt so much.  A quick group picture and then back down for another burst up the hill.  On our second time up the hill Nina and I picked to the second tree; then walk to the rock crop, then pick another point.  We trudged our way up the hill breaking up the run and we made it to the top in one piece.
Left to right: Claudia, Nina, Lexi, Michelle, Coach Dean, Rob, Renee,
 Marianne, John, Christina, Paul, Michael, Denise
Front row: Meridith, Nate and Paul
If you're considering a running camp I strongly recommend RxRunning Running Camp.  Regardless of your level of running and commitment to running, you'll learn something new and have a great time.

1 comment:

Jamie Madden said...

This sounds awesome! I've always wanted to try a running camp. I'm looking into it.