By Brenda Martinez

It is that time of year - some are starting cross country, others are starting base phase. In the professional world, the championship part of the season is on the horizon. No matter where you are currently in the season, the crosshairs are set for Tokyo 2020. For myself, I have just put together a month of training at altitude averaging 85 miles per week. It serves as a maintenance week preparing me for the Olympic year. In one of those weeks I put in 93 miles, by far the highest mileage week I have ever hit.

This year, if you follow me on Instagram, you might notice that I am increasing the volume. I believe that because the body adapts to the stimulus of training, I must increase the workload yearly. Some years that comes in the form of lengthening my intervals from 1k to 1 mile, to 2k and this year that form was mileage. I will say it clearly for everyone, my goal is to hit north of 90 miles this year per week. In doing so I have broken the unwritten 10% rule. For those who haven’t heard of the 10% rule, essentially the saying goes, "do not increase your mileage more than 10% or you will be over working". However, I once heard the saying from Dr. Joe Vigil, “there is no such thing as over working, just under recovering", and that is the unapologetic approach I am taking with my mileage this year.

Like a solder going into battle, I am armed with my weapons. My most lethal weapon is my Ember device. I am diving into uncharted waters, planning to push my body to handle the training load, and then some. I am human in the race for my life simply trying to grow stronger, gain speed and recover faster. My competitors and I have toppled scores of personal bests, world leads and world records over the last ten-year bot, but how much more progress can we really make? That is the question I am set on finding out for myself with the help of my Ember device.

Ember understands that we are all unique, and in that, our potential is bound by very important and very specific scientific principles. These principles include; law of physics, biomechanics, thermodynamics, and enzyme portfolios. Because we all vary in each of these parameters, we all have different adaptational capabilities. One of the parameters measured by Ember is oxygen content (OC).

Ember defines oxygen content as, “the total amount of oxygen in your blood and is derived from your hemoglobin and oxygen saturation levels". Understanding how your OC interacts with your training is key to then understanding how to push the envelope or pull the reins. My OC is bookmark and a staple in my training because I know when I have a consistently high OC I am ready for a lifetime best. This is due to the role oxygen plays in the body, research shows that the first thing to happen when the brain in not fully oxygenated is the loss of motor skills. When the brain is not fully oxygenated the body goes into panic mode, the heart rate will increased in an attempt to deliver more oxygen. Stress is now a physiological response, and your mental resources for peak performance goes down. On the same side of that coin, I associate having a consistent month of low OC with over training. Nonetheless, I do not let it get to that point because I have real time data, influencing my training getting me closer to my goal in 2020.