Taking Boulder Back: HTS Elite looks to make this the distance runner's power-city once again
By: Caitlin Chock
Boulder, Colorado is host to this year's USA Cross Country Champions, but there have been lots of other big things brewing in the host city as of late. Hudson Training Systems Elite, spearheaded by coach Brad Hudson, has been working overtime on a few exciting projects. One of which includes a brand new altitude camp open to all teams and runners and, spoiler alert, he's well on his way to building his group of runners into a Nationally Ranked team.
In a city that once was unarguably the distance runner's mecca of the States, recent years has brought it some stiff competition. HTS Elite is looking to change things up.
I talked with Brad and his athlete, Addie Bracy (2012 Olympic Trials 10k/Marathon, 2-time Team USA Member) to fill us in on what's going down in the Mile High City.
RBR: Hudson Training Systems Elite (HTS Elite) has been working on quite a few exciting things over there. Can you tell me first a bit about the new athlete altitude training camp facility? (ie: accommodations, services, capacity number, etc.)
Hudson: So a few things, we want sea-level runners. So we want groups to come here to train and have things in place, but also Addie will be renting out by the day and month. A room in her training manor!
Addie Bracy: I bought a house last spring with an unfinished basement and decided to finish it off with some extra bedrooms and a workout/training area to rent to friends and fellow runners looking for a place to do some altitude training. It basically gives people a place to live and train with running trails right out the front door. There are basic free weights, med balls, swiss balls and a big area to stretch and do drills. We also have pretty open practice standards. Brad has always taken the approach to training that to get better, fast runners should train with other fast runners. So, coming to train here would also mean the option to train alongside HTS Elite while we show you the best places to train in the area.
RBR: This camp is open to all teams and athletes around the Globe, can you tell us why Boulder, CO is such an ideal place for runners to come and train for weeks at altitude?
Hudson: Rally sport! With treadmills, etc., Alter-G's and lot's of massage therapists and P.T's that help keep you healthy. Especially Richie Hansen, Mark Plaatjes, Al Kupcack, and Heather North!
Bracy: I originally came out to Boulder in October of 2012 for a 5-week altitude stint and basically never left, if that says anything. In my opinion, it is one of the best places to train at altitude in the United States, year around. The winters can get some snow but they are not bad when compared to other parts of the country. We get over 300 days of sunshine a year. The running trails are phenomenal and endless. You can run somewhere new and amazing every day for weeks, never driving more than 20 or 25 minutes. The elevation is high enough (5,200-5,500 ft) to get the benefits of altitude but not so high that you have to drastically alter your workouts and paces. When you want to go even higher you can reach iconic places like Magnolia Road within 25 minutes and be running at close to 9,000 feet.
RBR: What are the length of stay and rates for runners interested in staying at the HTS altitude camp?
Bracy: The rates kind of vary depending on the time of year you want to come. The rental rates are usually in the ballpark $150 to $250 dollars a week. The ideal length to train at altitude is usually between 3 and 5 weeks. Those are the people that we are trying to cater to.
RBR: Will visiting runners be shown around to some of the HTS's favorite places to run and train?
Bracy: Absolutely. Boulder is famous for its Boulder County trail system, they even plow the paths before the roads when it snows, and one of the trails runs directly from the house all the way into downtown Boulder. It is a dirt cinder path and runs along beautiful farmland for miles. Training here in Boulder would also mean having a personal tour guide showing you all of the hot spots to not only do a run, but to grab a beer or a meal.
RBR: HTS has also gotten a new logo, started an apparel line, and has a new online presence both with a website and getting on social media. What spurred these changes and where can we find you guys?
Bracy: The group has really built a good foundation over the last 12 months. Brad has had the dream of building a high level, elite team for a long time and just needed some help getting everything launched. Several of the elite team members have really stepped up, each of us with our own responsibilities and roles aimed at getting organized and also raising support for our athletes. It will take time, but we want to eventually be thought of as one of the premier training groups in the U.S. We have a basic website that we will be adding to at www.htselite.org, as well as a FaceBook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hudson-Elite/143440872471218) dedicated to Hudson Elite. These two places house the majority of our information and updates. We also stay active on twitter (@HTSElite) and Instagram (htselite).
RBR: Your website mentions you are currently accepting application, can you briefly touch on what some of the requirements and standards are?
Bracy: We are currently recruiting more people to come out and be a part of what we are trying to do out here. We want to build a team that is going to be nationally competitive so that obviously demands the need for some performance standards. We have currently implemented the USATF B standards as our minimum requirement. However, beyond that we really want athletes who want to be involved beyond running. The community in Boulder has been really supportive of us and we want to show the same support. We are in the process of planning and implementing consistent activities that allow us to interact and become involved with Boulder and all of its runners. Beyond that, we just want positive, hardworking athletes that mesh well with the current team environment. We want to bring in people to expand the success of the group, but we also want to help those athletes seeking the structure, support, and guidance of a group environment. Any interested athletes should contact us through the "prospective athlete" page on our website. (http://htselite.org/athletes/)
RBR: What does this mean for the HTS? What are some of your goals?
Bracy: Our goals are to be a nationally and internationally competitive team. This means shooting to qualify all of our athletes for USA championships and Olympic Trial events and to, eventually, be making teams. Within the first year, every one of our athletes has experienced massive improvements and we are looking to continue that trend.
RBR: Can you explain a little on your philosophy, coaching methods, and share some of your successes of your athletes?
Hudson: My training is based on seeing many of the top athletes train but also looking at what most of the best athletes in the world have done to get to the top! My biggest influence is Renato Canova but I try to learn from everyone, especially at what Alberto Salazar is doing of late to see what I can bring in. From him, short fast stuff weekly. But my program is a strength-based program and you can see more in my Book Run faster! (Available in bookstores and online: http://www.amazon.com/Run-Faster-5K-Marathon-Coach/dp/0767928229)
RBR: Real quick, you've got runners gearing up for US Cross, some indoors, can you tell me what the racing schedule is coming up? Or a few of the key meets for your athletes?
Hudson: So U.S. Cross will be the last race of the winter for many and then prepare for Outdoors, going back to aerobic running, preparing for fast 10km's, 5km's and half's, but I will have a few athletes run U.S. indoors in N.M. But the main goal remains to get athletes stronger every year and ready for 2016! With some we are training them gradually harder every year! I do have two athletes racing Boston.
Thank you to Hudson and Bracy for giving me their time to talk!
Caitlin Chock (caitchock.com) set the then National High School 5k Record (15:52.88) in 2004. Now a freelance writer and artist she writes about all things running and designs her own line of running shirts. You can read more, see her running comics, and her shirts at her website.