Took a trip to Kennesaw Mountain this weekend for our trail running adventure. I would highly recommend this site for anyone interested in trail running or hiking or Civil War history. My husband did a 51-miler here this past summer when his ultra race was cancelled because of the pandemic. It’s still one of his favorite trails, so that’s saying something! There are a total of 17 miles of trails here, divided into three separate sections.
The northern section includes the main parking lot, visitor center, restrooms, and the mountain itself. During the summer there is a tram that will take you to the top of the mountain if you don’t want to walk. The mountain loop has some steep trail headed to the top and some technical trail heading down the backside of the mountain and I haven’t run this section in years.
The middle section looks like one half of a butterfly, with a long straight and wide trail down the middle and then two half loops headed out to the west. The loops are fairly hilly and connect back at a bridge in the middle of the section. It is lovely and picturesque.
The southern section is definitely my favorite and the section that we ran this weekend. It has gentle rolling trails that butt up to the back of neighborhoods and travel through densely forested areas. There are a few bridges over creeks. The Illinois monument can be seen along one section of trail. The trail is well maintained and well traveled. Dogs are allowed, as well as horses and the trail can get crowded on beautiful mornings. Most of the trails are fairly wide, allowing for social distancing during the pandemic.
The only restrooms are at the main visitor center, but there are Krogers pretty close to the middle and southern sections that have well-maintained restrooms. There is a $5 parking fee that can be paid online, or you can purchase an annual pass for $40.
This pandemic has taken a huge hit on running with the cancellation of almost all in-person race opportunities. We have been missing our running community horribly and so my husband and I decided to organize a trail race series to do with our friends.
The idea is to hold 5 “races” throughout the year in a pyramid of distances – 5k, 10k, half, 10k, 5k. They will be spaced 4-8 weeks apart and will all be at local trails around Atlanta. We will meet in the parking lot at a specified time (with masks on of course), say hi, and then run. There will be a staggered start to limit contact, and people will time themselves. All the races will be self supported to limit contact as well.
We are going to make shirts for everyone, as we’ve been wanting to do for a while and if people complete the series, I have agreed to make medals. If people want to compete we will keep track of times for everyone and may have extra medals for those.
We already have 12 of our friends that want to come out. I’m really excited to see people and have something to train for. I’ll keep you posted!
Every athlete wants to perform better in their respective sport. Sometimes that means having a greater power:weight ratio. Sometimes it means having better aerobic fitness and endurance. Sometimes it means having more muscle mass. And sometimes it just means weighing less so you have less to carry around in your activities. In this case, knowledge is power, and places like DexaFit are there to help provide you with that information.
DexaFit is an organization expanding throughout the U.S. and geared toward athletes that want to know more information about their body composition and performance. This organization, and others like them, can assess a variety of metrics that help athletes perform better, train smarter, and reach peak potential. Just a few of those metrics include:
Body Composition: They use DXA scan technology to assess lean muscle mass and body fat percentages. It can identify asymmetries in muscle mass and assess bone mass density. This can be a great tool for preventing injuries because of asymmetries and can help guide future targeted training.
VO2 max: They use a traditional treadmill test to identify both aerobic and anaerobic thresholds. This can be a good tool to track progress for endurance athletes, but can (along with additional information) also help identify a heart-rate-specific calorie burn and heart rate training zones.
Resting Metabolic Rate: This is by far the easiest assessment. It only requires breathing into a tube for 15 minutes while at rest. This can give athletes (and really anyone) a good idea of the number of calories the body burns while at rest (i.e., if you were to laze around in bed all day). This metric can be especially helpful in planning nutrition decisions.
As an athlete, the more one knows about their body and how it functions the easier it is to know what changes need to be made and help plan strategies to reach individual goals.
I have been to DexaFit twice and both times have had very positive experiences, learned a lot about my body and how it functions, and have used the information to make goals and plan my training in a smarter way. I would highly recommend paying them or other organizations like them a visit.
Part of training for any endurance event is actually building endurance. So we have added some mid-week running workouts to enhance endurance. This should help the ultimate frisbee player perform at a high level on Sunday afternoon. These are mainly running distances of 3 miles or longer and sometimes include long intervals.
A couple of the mid-week running workouts we have done are below.
Workout #1: 3 mile run at a quick pace (effort level of 7; for my husband that meant about a 7:30 min/mi pace)
Workout #2: 3 mile run at a moderately quick pace (effort level of 7; for my husband that meant about a 7:30 pace) 3 ~ 200 m sprints at 85-90% sprinting speed 2 sets of 10 burpees
Workout #3: 3 x 1 mile repeats at a fast pace (effort level of 8; for my husband that meant about a 6:30 pace), 1 min rest between repeats
** A note on pace: I often tell people to gauge their pace based on their perceived effort, but this does take some practice. For all mid-week running workouts your perceived effort level should never exceed an 8 on a scale from 0 to 10. Also, these effort levels are for running, not sprinting.