AORTA News: June 1st, 2020

Running During COVID-19 Guidelines
On April 3rd, Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey issued a “Stay-In-Place” order for all Alabama residents.  While this covers all “non-essential” operations, we can still engage in outdoor activities to include running, walking, and hiking, as long as people practice safe social distancing (groups less than 10 and staying at least six feet apart).  In addition to these guidelines, here are current protocols for AORTA members.

1) Follow social distancing protocol.
2) Bring your own water as all water stops have been suspended.
2) Remain at home if you are sick, are in a high-risk group (60+), or have a pre-existing condition.
3) Avoid touching public water fountains, door handles, park benches, or crosswalk buttons, with your hand.
4) Avoid extra-long runs (marathon distances) which can suppress your immune system for as long as 72 hours. If you want to push yourself, consider HIIT sessions (10 mins hard, 10 mins easy) which are easier on your immune system.

Saturday Group  Runs Routes

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fact is remaining outside is safer than inside when it comes to disease transmission. Therefore, we will continue to offer Saturday routes BUT have suspended water stops for the foreseeable future and request runners gather in groups of less than 10 and maintain proper social distancing. Routes start at the Corner Village parking lot at the intersection of E. Glenn Ave and N. Dean Road. Please park near theTCBY/PakMail storefronts and away from the Kroger entrance.

Summer 5K Series - Opelika (June 2nd!)
We have the green light to participate in Summer Swing 5K runs. Due to Covid-19 precautions, runners won't be handling forms, pens, money, or a common cooler - so be sure to bring whatever water or sports drink you will need. Main thing is, just show up at the Denson Drive Recreation Center by 6pm, and the run starts at 6:15pm. We will time the runs and post results for those interested in seeing their progress. Please practice social distancing and other precautions that you consider appropriate. Give me a call or text at 334-524-5021, or email at if you have any questions. Hope to see you there!

Doug Underwood

AORTA Travel & Shoe Bags
These awesome bags are still available and can be ordered today!  Click here or on the photo below.  Payments can be made through PayPal or credit/debit cards. Quantities are limited so get yours before their gone!
   AORTA Travel Bag: $25
   AORTA Shoe Bag: $15

Weekly Whimsy

Boost Your VO2 Max So Running Faster Feels Easier
Molly Ritterbeck and Laura Williams, Runner’s World (paraphrased)

What runner doesn't want to run farther, faster, and with less effort? The question is how to do it. Research explains that the key is, in large part, your VO2 max. 

So, What Is VO2 Max?
In simple terms, it’s the "measurement of the maximum oxygen delivery and utilization for cardiovascular exercises,” and can be thought of like a car engine. A smaller engine has to work harder than a bigger engine. Although it’s trainable and de-trainable, your VO2 max is also governed by genetics. So whille one can improve their VO2 max, not everyone has the genetic potential to be Kipchoge.

Benefits of Increasing Your VO2 Max
The most obvious benefit of increasing your VO2 max is the potential improvements you’ll see in your running performance. A higher VO2 max indicates a higher anaerobic threshold - the breakpoint at which your intensity level is too high to keep up with the energy demands required for exercise that are provided through oxygen consumption alone. As you breathe harder, your muscles start to “burn,” indicating that you’re not getting enough oxygen needed to sustain the level of effort you’re exerting. Your body has started to use aerobic systems to help you continue to move. Eventually you’ll have to slow down or stop, returning to an aerobic level of intensity.

Even if your goal isn’t to improve performance, a higher VO2 max increases cardiovascular capacity which reduces the daily workload on the heart.

How to Increase Your VO2 Max
Studies have confirmed that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can effectively improve your VO
2 max because it causes you to temporarily surpass your aerobic threshold before returning to a lower, aerobic, intensity. This causes your heart and lungs to adapt to the demands being asked of them. When a higher demand is placed on the cardiovascular system, the capacity to tolerate those demands will increase up to the genetic limit.

To force a rapid spike in your heart rate followed by a rapid drop back down, it makes sense to focus on HIIT in your gym or home routine, rather than on the road or track.  This means total-body exercises such as sled pushes, ball tosses, plyometric jumping, or ladder drills - basically anything that’s going to exert more energy than a simple bench press. As for reps and sets, start with 3 sets of 12-15 reps for bodyweight moves to keep your heart rate up. Or try a time-based scheme with 30 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest between exercises and 1 minute of rest between rounds. If you’re doing a heavier, weight-based training cycle, stick to 4 to 5 sets of 6 reps per move.

If HIIT isn’t your thing, any workout that’s done regularly and places a higher, continuous demand on the cardio system can increase your VO2 max. The key is working at an intensity just below your anaerobic threshold for at least 15 minutes. This includes continuous hills, tempo runs, cycling, swimming, or any cross-training activity that places similar demands on your system.

Whatever you choose, the key is to stick with it. Increasing your VO2 max won’t happen overnight, but the more fit you are, the more time it will take to see improvements. If you’re out of shape to moderately fit, you may see improvements in as little as four to six weeks. If you are very fit, it could take as long as four to six months.

Link to Runner’s World article

Quote of the Week
  “When a person trains once, nothing happens. 
   When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical.
   Is it raining? That doesn’t matter.
   Am I tired? That doesn’t matter either.
   If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years, then will power is no longer a problem."

                                        - Emil Zatopek

Video of the Week
“Overcome” Documentary - The Transalpine-Run (22:54)

** AORTA provides this informational video to its members as a courtesy and does not endorse any particular product, process or service.

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