Blog

April 6, 2021

Warm weather is ahead, which means lots of sweat. Get ready for “head rushes.”

Have you ever stood up quickly from a sitting or squatting position and suddenly experienced a “head rush” or dizziness? Many runners are familiar with the sensation, but not the name of the condition: orthostatic hypotension. Commonly described as lightheadedness when you “stand up too fast,” it is something that many people experience, including non-runners. However, some research indicates that highly fit runners are more susceptible to it, especially when dehydrated. This “head rush” usually prompts people to say “Whoa...all the blood rushed to my head.” Indeed, the sensation is caused by the exact opposite - the blood (and oxygen) goes “out of your head.”

Again, the technical term for this experience is orthostatic hypotension. “Orthostatic” means “standing upright,” and hypotension means “low blood pressure.” It is caused primarily by the pooling of blood in the lower extremities while sitting, squatting, or lying down, followed by a sharp drop in blood pressure when moving into an upright position. This in turn causes a rapid loss of blood supply – and oxygen – to the brain, which causes the sensation of dizziness, tingling, blurred vision, and other disconcerting sensations.

There is no serious risk of injury from orthostatic hypotension, other than potential injuries associated with a fall if you pass out or otherwise lose your balance. While it is important to note that orthostatic hypotension can be a sign of more serious medical conditions, the likelihood of underlying medical problems is low.

Several factors can increase the effects of orthostatic hypotension, including dehydration, low sodium or electrolyte levels, and hypovolemia, which is low blood-plasma volume. A runner who has lost of lot of sweat and electrolytes is going to be dehydrated, have low electrolyte levels, and have blood that is “thicker” than normal due to dehydration – all the right conditions for a serious head rush if that runner sits for a period of time or maybe bends over to tie a shoelace and then suddenly stands up.

The important note for runners is to be prepared for the effects of orthostatic hypotension and to understand the conditions that worsen the situation. Basically, take your time moving from a sitting, kneeling, squatting or prone position into a standing position, especially if you are dehydrated or otherwise physically depleted after a workout. Be prepared to grab onto something nearby if you get dizzy after standing, and take deep breaths to help get some oxygen back to your brain. And stay hydrated during hot months ahead!

Paul Carmona is the Online REVEL Coach who has designed training plans specifically for REVEL downhill courses. He is a 25-time REVEL marathon finisher and has run multiple Boston Qualifiers on every REVEL course that he has run, with his current streak at 23 BQs in a row at REVEL marathons!

March 9, 2021

Since its inception in 2016, the REVEL Online Coaching Program has provided training for hundreds of REVEL marathon and half-marathon participants. The marathon and half-marathon programs both have Advanced, Intermediate, Beginner, and Introductory training levels. Marathon programs are 24 weeks long, and the half-marathon programs are 16 weeks (the Introductory levels are slightly shorter). The training programs are specifically designed for downhill racing, and the weekly schedules include regular workouts designed to improve downhill efficiency and speed.

The REVEL Online Coaching Program is designed by REVEL’s experienced and successful Coach Paul Carmona, who has run more than two dozen REVEL marathons and half-marathons, has run Boston Qualifiers on all the REVEL marathon courses he has run, and is a 10-time Boston Marathon finisher. Coach Paul and the REVEL coaches work directly with runners throughout the program and explain the purpose of every workout.

The training programs are entirely online, with a calendar that includes daily workouts, weekly targets, and overall strategy for the training cycle. The online training center also features a message tool, daily logs, videos, articles, and other resources that are included with all training programs. The coach’s weekly emails provide instructions for the weekly workouts, reminders about the objectives of that specific training cycle, explanations for the goals of each workout, and tips on how to translate key concepts into preparation for downhill racing.

The coaches stress the importance of keeping in touch with participants in the program. The coaches respond to emails directly with runners, and are available to answer questions, offer advice, and assist with anything related to training and racing.

The success of the REVEL Online Coaching Program is reflected in comments from participants in the program:

Got me to the starting line feeling like I had already ‘earned’ the PR and just needed to go ‘collect’ it at the finish line.”

The program is built in a way that you feel tangible improvements as you progress towards your marathon date. Coach Paul explains the rationale behind each workout…the weekly emails, check-ins, videos, and enthusiasm got me in the right mindset, and at age 47 I ran my best marathon with a big PR and BQ!”

It's not just a cookie cutter training plan, but a customized roadmap to take you from where you are to where you want to go.”

From those who want to do their first half-marathon to those who want to qualify for Boston, Coach Paul has the knowledge and experience to bring out the best in the people he works with.”

A year ago, I thought I could never get a Boston qualifying time. 12 months later, I now have a BQ minus 23 minutes thanks to Coach Paul and the Revel Online Coaching Program.”

To learn more about the program, visit the REVEL Online Coaching Program.

Oct. 7, 2020

You’ve been there: A few miles into a run, you are wondering to yourself, “Why am I running today? When is my next race?” Maybe you ran long the day before. Perhaps you have an especially challenging workout the next day. Whatever the reason, you are not sure exactly why you are doing a particular workout on a given day. Likewise, you might have no idea how hard you should be running, or whether you should be running at all.

Like many other aspects of life in 2020, you are caught in a cycle of uncertainty. Accompanying that uncertainty is a sense of feeling “lost,” where you are not exactly sure where your running should be – base work, speed work, race prep?

Unless you are running “just to run” - and many of us do exactly that - you are probably accustomed to training for a specific race, or a series of races. In that case, every workout in your training schedule has a certain purpose that is aligned with your current training phase. Commonly referred to as “periodization,” the optimal training method for any race distance is to go through different phases - usually lasting several weeks - where you focus on different aspects of your running. Generally, those distinct periods are base, build, sharpen, peak, and taper.

But again, all of that is shattered when races are canceled or postponed and there are extremely few certain race dates on the calendar anywhere.

So, what to do? Here is a recommended 3-step plan that can help you get through it. Remember that most training plans have distinct periods that all begin with a base period, followed by a building phase. Together, the base and build phases account for about 10-12 weeks for marathon training, and about 6-8 weeks for half-marathon training.

Step 1: Get back to basics with base work.

This is where you gradually increase your volume (total weekly miles) over time at an easy pace. The objective is to improve endurance, not to gain speed. A key aspect here is to think in terms of weeks, not days. How many weeks? That depends on your level of fitness when you begin the base work. There are no one-size-fits-all regimens for base building, and runners start their own base periods with different levels of conditioning, speed, strength, and stamina. A coach can help you schedule a series of weeks where you focus on your base training, after which you’ll notice improvements in your speed. That’s a positive development to note, but it should not be your daily goal to “beat yesterday’s time.” That will come in the next phase.

Step 2: Start to build strength and stamina.

There are several commonly used terms for the next periodization phase. “Build stage,” “quality workout phase,” and “stamina phase” are examples that coaches use. The common component of this phase is that the workouts begin to increase intensity, with tempo runs, interval sessions, hill workouts, and other types of runs. It is important to note that not all your workouts will be high intensity during this phase. A lot of your weekly mileage should continue to be at your aerobic pace. There is also a need for “recovery runs,” which typically are scheduled for the days after hard workouts or very long runs. The objective of recovery runs is to loosen up stiff and tired legs, and to move oxygen and nutrients into the muscles for repair.

Step 3: Move on towards sharpen and peak phases or GO BACK to Step 1.

After the base and build periods is the “sharpen” phase, where workouts focus on “goal pace.” Workouts include many miles of sustained intensity at increasingly longer distances. Beyond the sharpen period is the “peak,” where intensity and volume are the highest in the training cycle. Finally, after that, the “taper” period leads up to a target race.

>But in the current uncertain times we are experiencing, the question runners face is “Will my race happen, and if not, what do I do?” That is the key point at which you must evaluate the likelihood of the race occurring, weighed against your own current level of fitness, overall health, and (most important) willingness to commit to the growing demands of the training cycles ahead.

This is where you have to make the decision to (1) proceed into the next phases of hard work, or (2) show the discipline to back off training, let your body recover from weeks or months of hard work, and…start over again with base work.

It is frustrating but does not have to be thought of as “going back to square one.” Instead, think of your training as going through a series of plateaus. If you progress through Steps 1 and 2 properly, and have remained healthy through those weeks of training, you will be starting another base period at a fitness level that is higher than before. From there, you can advance through another building stage, and hopefully will see another race on the horizon.

Most importantly, you must not fall into a mentality of “I have reached this level of fitness and I want to stay here.” It is extremely difficult to sustain the high levels of intensity and volume that are common during the sharpen and peak periods. A typical training cycle has only a few weeks of training in these phases, and they are not designed for long-term training within those periods. The number one reason to avoid too much intensity and mileage? Injury. You do not want to become injured.

So, why am I doing this workout today?

Back to the initial question: “Why am I running today?” Whatever your answer, make sure that your workout is consistent with your periodization phase. Are you in the early weeks of your base training? If so, you should not be doing intervals on the track. Are you in the middle of your “build” period, where you are ramping up speed and intensity? If so, you might not want to be grinding out a hilly 10-miler the day after a hard intervals session. Are you wondering why you’re scheduled for a 3-mile “recovery run” the day after a long run? If you cannot answer the question, ask your coach. If your coach cannot answer the question...then it might be time to find another coach!

The point here is that you want to avoid the pitfall of wandering aimlessly through days and weeks of running without purpose. When faced with uncertainty, you can establish your own certainty by planning your base and build phases, followed by planning what to do next depending on the question we all are trying to answer: “When is my next race?”

Paul Carmona is the Online REVEL Coach who has designed training plans specifically for REVEL downhill courses. He is a 24-time REVEL Marathon Finisher and has run multiple Boston Qualifiers on every REVEL course. His current streak is 22 BQs in a row at REVEL marathons! You can contact Coach Paul at coach@runrevel.com.

June 15, 2020

As of now, REVEL Big Cottonwood is scheduled to commence as planned on September 12, 2020.

Let's address the obvious question. What if I sign up and the race is later canceled due to COVID-19?

For those feeling trepidation about registering, we'd like to remind our runners of the generous transfer/withdrawal/deferral policies in place. In the event that we are forced to cancel, registered participants can choose from the following options:

  • Complimentary Deferment: Runners may elect to defer the entire amount of their registration fee to be used at any future REVEL event. The current deferment fee will be waived.
  • Virtual Race: Runners may elect to run the race virtually at the time and location of their choice and receive a mailed race packet free of charge. The mailed packet will include a race shirt, medal, bib, Tru Flask, Goodr sunglasses, running cap, and customized result card showing the finish time of the virtual race. Those who select this option will also be given a code for a 20% discount on a REVEL merchandise purchase.

Given this policy we hope to have eliminated any financial risk, and we strongly encourage runners not to hesitate to register.

If the race is to commence as scheduled, what precautions will be in place to ensure my safety?

REVEL events are supposed to be fun, challenging, inspiring, and safe - and now more than ever, we take that last one very seriously.

Runners can be assured that REVEL will be implementing an extensive series of safety measures for both the expo and race day. These measures would be too long to list here, but among them include:

  • Gloves, masks, and temperature checks for all race staff and volunteers
  • Increased hand-washing and sanitation stations
  • Limited "touch-points" and vigorous sanitation of each
  • Assigned time slots for race packet pick-up and mailing options
  • Provided face masks for runners during race-day transportation

We will provide detailed updates regarding race day and safety protocol as we grow closer to the event.

We look forward to REVELing with you all in Salt Lake City. See you in September! 

April 27, 2020

Unfortuntely we have had to cancel the following events due to COVID-19: REVEL Mt Charleston (4/4/20), REVEL Rockies (6/6/20), REVEL Mt Hood (6/27/20) and REVEL Chilliwack (7/25/20). Although deeply saddened by these cancellations, we are committed to joining the efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and ensure the health of our runners and host communities. 

These cancellations have led to questions regarding the status of other scheduled REVEL events in 2020. As of now, the remaining fall REVEL events in 2020 are scheduled to proceed as planned. They include:

-REVEL Big Cottonwood: September 12, 2020

-REVEL Big Bear: November 14, 2020

We emphasize that the coronavirus issue is evolving on a daily basis and therefore future plans may need to be adjusted. We will continue to monitor the ongoing situation as it unfolds throughout the coming months and comply with regulations of local and federal government health officials. 

Because many of our runners may naturally be hesitant to register for a race under the current circumstances, we wish to clarify our current plan for responding to the possibility of prolonged restrictions on events:

  • -We remind runners that we have always had a very generous transfer/withdrawal/deferral policy that provides flexibility in times of uncertainty. Subject to certain deadlines, runners may use these policies to defer or withdraw from any race. Registered runners who are uncertain about their participation in the remaining 2020 REVEL events are invited to consider exercising these options.
  •  
  • -If a future REVEL event is forced to cancel due to health and safety regulations, we may attempt to postpone the race to a future date in 2020. In the event of a postponement, registered runners would automatically be deferred to the postponed race. If the new date is incompatible with a runner’s schedule, the runner will be allowed to defer their entire registration to a future REVEL event without incurring any fees.
  • -Postponement is not always a viable option due to permit restrictions, venue availability, and weather conditions. If postponement is not possible, a race may be cancelled altogether for the 2020 year. Under this scenario, runners will be given the following two options:
  1.       1. Defer registration and receive credit that can be used to register for any future REVEL race. Note that the regular deferral fees will be waived in the event of a cancellation so that runners will not incur any cost to defer.
  2.  
  3.       2. Complete a Virtual Race and receive a mailed race packet, free of charge. Race packets include a race shirt, medal, personalized bib, Tru Flask, Goodr sunglasses, REVEL running cap, customized result card, and a coupon code for a 20% discount on a REVEL merchandise purchase. 

Our sincere hope is that our fall 2020 races will not be impacted by the current situation, and we are actively planning for that scenario. Given the policies outlined above, we encourage our runners to not hesitate to register for these events. The race production community is currently experiencing unprecedented turmoil. Those in our industry rely on constant registrations to enable operations to continue. We urge runners to support the industry by continuing to register for races, whether they be REVEL races or not, so long as those races have reasonable policies in place to deal with potential postponements or cancellations. 

Above all, we implore our runners to remain safe and healthy. We all share a common passion for distance running and cannot imagine life without. Yet in these uncertain times we must remember to put the overall health of our community above all other concerns. Look for opportunities to be an influence for good during this outbreak. Offer assistance to others as appropriate. Remember that we are all in this together.

We appreciate the patience of our loyal runners during these difficult times and look forward to REVELing with you all as soon as possible. 

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