A Conversation with Dr. Douglas Casa

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Back in Connecticut, the trails that run through Litchfield County give a runner a multitude of options for terrain. The terrain gives the runner a chance to practice agility while they bound over roots and rocks.  The trails varying grade gives you opportunities to bound up hills, practice neuromuscular power and also eccentric strength with descending.  The surface of the ground can also be much softer on trails, more so than the concrete on the road.  Dr. Douglas Casa took notice of all these facets of trail running and hasn’t ran on a road since 1999.

 

Dr. Douglas Casa, chief executive officer of the Korey Stringer Institute at University of Connecticut, is an avid trail runner.  I’m always curious as to what shoes people wear to run, so when I asked Dr. Casa I was surprised to hear that he rotates 5 different pairs of shoes.  He never wears the same shoe two days in a row.  As we spoke more about trail running, he suggested a book, “Today We Die a Little: The Rise and Fall of Emil Zatopek.”  Emil won five Olympic medals, set eighteen world records, and went undefeated in the 10,000 meters for six years.  Emil did most of his training on trails, and this book details his history in the darkest days of the Cold War. 

Recently, the University of Connecticut developed the MISSION Heat Lab.  This comprehensive lab has a chamber that can control temperature from 40 F to 110 F, from 20% to 90% humidity, and comes equipped with a bathroom, bikes, and treadmills to allow uninterrupted testing.  Here, the institute can test VO2max, substrate utilization, sweat rate and sweat electrolyte composition, heat tolerance, lactate threshold, and can provide heat acclimatization before hot races.  Recently, Cliff Bar and Camelback brought their athletes to the center to have physiological testing done. 

Dr. Casa’s biggest advice on hydration was habitual behavior.  Athletes need to constantly drink and train their hydration plan.  Since you can train the gut to absorb water, you need to constantly train this system as you would train any other system. 

Dr. Casa has invited Full Throttle Endurance to the institute to undergo athlete testing.  If you are interested in visiting and having services performed, please contact me at davidgamartin1@gmail.com