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by: alan watts

The alan-watts-headshotAAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition, while stimulating and productive, can be a pretty unhealthy affair…sitting through long talks and flights, convention hall food, networking over drinks…all of it can leave you feeling a bit lethargic and unfit. The good news is that the AAPS Foundation is offering a solution: the 2nd Annual AAPS Foundation 5K Fun Run/Walk! Now, I’m by no means a professional runner, but I’ve been asked to give a few Denver-specific tips for this year’s race. Here you go…

It will be cold—Check the weather before you pack, but I can say with a fair degree of certainty that it will be cold, 35 to 40 degrees at race time probably. Before the race, stretch and get your blood flowing with a light jog. The more you move, the warmer you’ll feel. Walkers and walk/joggers will want to layer…here’s a handy guide.

Wear layers—For those planning to run at a faster pace, after the first mile you may warm up quite a bit. Bring a windbreaker layer to wear over your normal base layer. Once you warm up, you can take off that layer, but it needs to be thin enough where you can carry it in one hand while running or wrap it around your waist. Don’t dress like the little brother in “A Cha-christmas-story_imageristmas Story”, you’ll regret it. If you’re not a little cold and uncomfortable at the beginning of the race, you’ve over-layered.


Run by effort, not by time—The altitude will slow you down. Most of us don’t live a mile up in the atmosphere, so our blood doesn’t have the same O2-carrying capacity (VO2 max) as those that live in the mountains. If you are running for time, expect to lose one minute or so on your normal mile splits.

Pre-Hydrate and Re-Hydrate—Altitude sickness is not fun…lightheadedness, nausea, and all that business. Hydrate before and after the race (and the entire meeting for that matter). You may not feel like you were sweating during the run, but you’re definitely losing moisture and you need to replace it. The Denver tourism office has some additional good tips for avoiding altitude sickness.

So regaralan-running-imagedless of the environmental challenges, this year’s 5K is sure to be a good time. If you love running in cold weather like me (I’ll be the one in shorts), this is a must-add to your meeting agenda.  Whether you’re a runner, jogger, or stroller, come out the morning of November 13 and brave the elements this year to support the AAPS Foundation!


Alan B. Watts, Ph.D. is research assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the Drug Dynamics Institute. He is chair of the newly formed AAPS Ambassador Coordination Committee and is a member of the inhalation and nasal technology focus group