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Moved by Music: Ben Altenes

Our fourth and final installment of the Moved by Music series is a particularly special one, taking us all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah. Ben Altenes is an endurance athlete, Army veteran, photographer, and family man with a fascinating life story.

Ben has always had a passion for endurance sports. He picked up cycling as a teenager, often watching old VHS recordings of the Tour de France, Coors Classic, and Paris–Roubaix. But as he got older, he found himself accumulating more miles on foot rather than on wheels. His introduction to the sport wasn’t by competition, fitness, or even just for fun, like many others. Rather, his first real introduction to running was at age 17 when he joined the U.S. Army. He selected Infantry when enlisting and continued into Special Operations. Running was built into his conditioning. Just about every day he strapped on his boots and took to the tank trails of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“Running became part of my life and turned out to be one of my most beneficial courses of exercise while in the military. I continued running for exercise after my military career. Running the roads with traffic and the smell of exhaust pushed me deeper into the backcountry trails.”

Still an avid mountain biker and long-distance cyclist, Ben also feels at home in his trail shoes. He prefers trails over roads because they elicit memories of his experiences overseas in the Mountains of Afghanistan and Kurdistan. Over the past few years, he has also dabbled in the ultra scene, trying his hand at the 50-mile and 50K distances, but ultimately leaning towards the shorter distances. (One of his favorites is the Discrete Peak Trail Series, for the camaraderie and beer it promises.)

Ben trains hard. He maintains a diverse routine to keep his body and mind in top physical shape. He shared a typical training week with us below, as well as a playlist he uses to get in the right mindset.

Day 1.
Morning: 20-25 mile road cycle route for times
Evening: Trail run for time.
Day 2.
Morning: hill repeats
Evening: indoor bouldering.
Day 3.
Morning: 1-hour spinning and stretch session
Evening: 50-mile cycle with 4K of vertical gain.
Day 4.
2-hour spinning and stretch session.
Day 5.
Evening: 10-mile run -Medium intensity.
Day 6.
Rest and stretch
Day 7.
Long, 20- to 30-mile run

An important takeaway from Ben’s regimen is how diverse his week is. He hits every major muscle group, on top of getting in his miles. He isn’t afraid to jump on the bike or hit the rock climbing gym. He allows his body to become stronger, while being kind to his joints. He also knows the importance of a rest day to keep his body feeling fresh. Without a doubt, Ben exercises a lot. We asked him how he stays motivated when each activity gets tough.  

“Running, cycling, or any outdoor activity brings me happiness. Trail running and exercise has also been a way for me to deal with my PTSD from being overseas for 10 years. It clears my head and dumps any anxieties that I might be carrying.”

Ben uses fitness to find happiness. He works hard to better his body and mind. Through all of his years as an athlete he’s learned to stretch more, hydrate constantly, eat and rest well, and to be unafraid of roadblocks in his way.

Don’t just look up at that peak from the road walk, hike, or run up to it. The view is much more magical from above than it is from below.

Speed Round:

  • Favorite food: Pizza
  • Spirit dog: My German Shepherd/Lab mix (Eazy)
  • Favorite TV show growing up? Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego
  • Can’t leave the house without: Jaybird RUN buds & a camera
  • Biggest inspiration? My children. Opie and Olive – ages 5 and 3

Ben and Eazy enjoying a beautiful day.

Thank you to Ben for sharing your story with us. If you ever need a little extra motivation or a daily dose of the great outdoors, Ben’s photography will do the trick. Check out his Instagram.

Finally, a big thank you to Jaybird who connected us with four incredible athletes, with four incredible stories. You can read the whole series on our blog, and enter the Rock and RUN Challenge to win a pair of Jaybird RUN buds.

Ben Weingart

About the author:
Ben Weingart

Boston based runner, photographer, & burrito connoisseur. Follow and connect on instagram @benjaminweingart

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