Working out at altitude, Lake Tahoe style

When we first moved here, I was actively running and noticed a huge difference in hitting the edge up here vs the SF East Bay at sea level!  It felt like it took 2-3 months to reach the speed and endurance I was at, it was quite an adjustment!

I’ve continued workouts up here basically non stop from a couple times/week to all week.  The trail runs up here make running a pleasure!  They’re very hilly and usually on mountain bike trails, some have me running at 7-8,000ft.  I also have a few nice paved bike trail and road runs, we have a new all weather track up here I use only a few times/year, usually for 200 and 400 meters.

Training for the Lake Tahoe Marathon a few years had me doing long runs on highway 89 along the actual marathon route.  Even though I trained several 12, 15, 17, 19 mile runs, the marathon of 26 miles is just too darn long for my body type.  I’m more of a short distance runner, sprinter.  But I did it and wondered why!  I’ve run the Dipsea race at Mill Valley 16 times in a row, a tough hilly trail run to the beach, my last race there was several years ago… think it’s time to do it again!

I have trained in the stairwells of Harvey/s casino many times to prepare for the near 700 stairs of the Dipsea.  I also take runs up to the Heavenly Valley restaurant from the parking lot, it’s a nice climb.  But for racing, there’s two runs a good runner must do: long distance and intervals.  Nothing gets you in shape like intervals!  It’s over Peak 8’s to me because we are running on the track or road, that’s a topic by itself!  But since it’s not quick twitch muscle, the Peak 8’s or sprints have to be done!  Also, my massive reps for martial arts utilize quick twitch fibers in my upper body.

Something I decided to do up here only a few years ago (been up here since ’96), was mountain biking, as I felt I could get a serious workout with little impact.  This way I could limit my running days per week and maybe even advance physically.  After some tough rides from our place by the Tahoe Keys to Angora Lake, I found this to be true!  I was fortunate enough to purchase a Cannondale top of the line mountain bike for a very low price as it wasn’t being used… well I’m using it!

My best time to Lookout is 44 minutes and to the beach of Angora in 59 minutes.  There may be faster mountain bikers but for me, I’m not stopping to smell any roses!  There are many trails but I’m not a fast downhill crazy rider like I’ve come across up here, so my usual power ride is up to Angora Lake, I push myself by my stopwatch… it’s mostly uphill all the way to the lake, some parts are very steep and tough.

This is obviously in the non snow months, about April-May thru Oct for most outdoor training, otherwise it’s all in the gym unless we travel.  A few months, June thru Sept, I’ll run a 4 mile bike trail run by the beach and then do a 25 minute swim in the lake, makes for a good training day.  We may also take a few hikes per year up to one of the mountain tops or across some ridge.  These ridge hikes are some slightly dangerous rock climbing treks but we don’t get too radical!  Like Alex Honnold, one of the most awesome things I’ve seen a human do, this guys amazing!:

I also a pool pass for Tahoe Keys indoor pool, this gets my oxygen up and a super low impact workout!  So between all types of runs, mountain biking, swimming, the gym, bagwork, Peak 8’s, some crossfit, I seem to get a well rounded workout up here… it’s fresh air, quiet trails, easy on the mind.  Till next time, God Bless,



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