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Training for Uphill Mountain Race (Read 2339 times)

HoosierDaddy


    Curious if there are any recommended plans to train for mountain (uphill) races. At present I am training on mountain trails and following a marathon training plan... Short repeats on hills? Long uphill runs? How many times/week? I will be running about 7 miles uphill (then down ~6) 10 miles uphill (then down ~7) at altitude. Any thoughts? Thanks.
      I generally run the same sized hill, if I can, but they may depend on size and accessibility. I'd also run some smaller hills more intensely (LT), and maybe do some Lydiard hill drills or other short, intense hills. How big (vertical ft) is the hill - something like 7000ft (Pike's Peak?) or closer to 3000ft? I think our local, experienced mtn runners may run the bigger hills (up to 3000ft) more than once a week, but not sure - probably at least once per week once the snow's gone. (They either xc ski or hike the mtns in winter.) I do them once every other week, snow permitting (start on plowed roads), but my main races this year just have individual climbs of 1500 ft (total 4000+ ft) and 3000ft. Besides that in a 2-wk period, I do one medium hill (700ft or a subset, LT) and either rolling hills (10-30% slopes, but only 1-6 min) or maybe some shorter stuff more intensely. I let my recovery from the biggest hill govern how much I can do on the other days. All my races have downhills with them, so that's a significant part of my training, and what probably limits how much up I do for the ups. Not sure if you've read Matt Carpenter's pages on training, but here's one page. I know you didn't say what race you were running, but I knew Matt's pages have lots of useful information for a variety of races - so just pointing you there for some starters on other ideas. Note the links to the Incline Club. http://www.skyrunner.com/peak_faq.htm Here's his home page that provides links to everything. some of his bottom pages don't have links to get back up. http://www.skyrunner.com/run.htm
      "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
        The sum total of my mountain racing resume is one (1) race; last year's Mt. Washington road race. When I run it again someday I will try to build in some long uphill runs into my training. The hardest part for me was the unrelenting uphill and never being able to find a comfortable rythm. It is much, much different than hitting hills in a normal road race where you don't mind getting into a slight bit of oxygen debt on the uphills knowing you can recover while still running fast on the downhills...there are no downhills. As soon as you redline, it's over. I would run the longest hills I could find and just work on finding a good tempo that I could maintain uphill without redlining.

        Runners run.

        HoosierDaddy


          How big (vertical ft) is the hill - something like 7000ft (Pike's Peak?) or closer to 3000ft?
          Sorry - The race is Imogene Pass. Starts at ~9000 with summit at ~13000 then back down. Similar to what MikeyMke said, just getting a rythm and not feeling winded is my goal. Sounds like a mix of LT on smaller hills and putting in the time with longer runs of 2-3500 feet climbs. At present, when my HR climbs over LT on these runs (and I am huffing) I stop until my HR drops down to low aerobic zone (30 secs?). Thoughts on this?
          sherpagirl


          Sherpagirl

            I have run Imogene before. It is pretty much 10 miles of up and 7 miles of technical down. The most success I have had with running these types of races is to duplicate the race in my long run as much as I can. I don't where you are coming from. If you have access to long hills 3+ miles and altitude I would include both in my long run. With this race the bigger issue is the altitude ... at the top of the pass you are over 13,000 feet. Practice walking, you can expect to walk on and off past camp bird to the summit of the pass. If you are coming from sea level if you can try and get there a week before. It will hurt a lot less. It’s a very pretty race, coming into Telluride at the end is an amazing sight.
            If you're bored ask why you're boring
              Sorry - The race is Imogene Pass. Starts at ~9000 with summit at ~13000 then back down. Similar to what MikeyMke said, just getting a rythm and not feeling winded is my goal. Sounds like a mix of LT on smaller hills and putting in the time with longer runs of 2-3500 feet climbs. At present, when my HR climbs over LT on these runs (and I am huffing) I stop until my HR drops down to low aerobic zone (30 secs?). Thoughts on this?
              After I went to bed last night, I realized I had the wrong distance for Pike's. Sorry about that. LT on smaller hills will raise your LT, so that's good. But you'll be at altitude. For the long climbs, just slow down so you can stay aerobic. Don't let yourself get into oxygen debt. Get so you recognize the early warnings and slow down then. If you wait until you're already almost gasping, you waited too long. You may still need to include some powerhiking breaks in there. I've found it's good to practice running, hiking, and transitioning. Hike the steeper parts, run the gentler - relatively speaking. For training, some people suggest running the entire big hill (whatever size you have) or hiking the entire hill, just so you have extended experience at both. But you also need to practice transitioning between them, unless you just run the bottom and hike the top. If the downhill is part of the race (you only mentioned uphill in your post, so I assumed it was an uphill only race), practice that also. The downhills are what typically kills quads, knees, and other things. Unlike uphills, I haven't found a decent way to train for these without doing extended downhills. Start small and gentle and get bigger. If it's technical, find something technical to run on. I would echo sherpagirl's comments about practicing hiking. Esp. since you'll be at altitude. On steeper slopes, the energy cost of hiking is much less than that of running. Have fun.
              "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


              1983

                Sorry - The race is Imogene Pass. Starts at ~9000 with summit at ~13000 then back down. Similar to what MikeyMke said, just getting a rythm and not feeling winded is my goal. Sounds like a mix of LT on smaller hills and putting in the time with longer runs of 2-3500 feet climbs. At present, when my HR climbs over LT on these runs (and I am huffing) I stop until my HR drops down to low aerobic zone (30 secs?). Thoughts on this?
                I also have only 1 Mt race to my credit, Mt Washington in 2006. I purposely started at the back of the pack to force a slow pace at first. I think this helped me find a rythm. I ran the entire way. Lots of people run/walk. Its actually quite annoying (just a pet peeve) because you keep passing them and vice versa if they are going at the same average pace. I know many people who swear by that approach and it would definitely be something that you should try out and/or practice before hand. I would definitely advocate this approach over just plain stopping for 30 seconds. I'm running Mt W again this June. I don't plan to run/walk just because I am more comfortable running at a constant pace, no matter how slow it is. The biggest hill I have available to train on is about 3/4 mile long with some pretty steep sections. I run a loop that hits this hill several times a week and I monitor my split for the hill section each time. I have 3 weeks left till Mt W this year and next week I plan to start running this hill twice a week, just up/down as many times as I can manage on a lunch hour at my goal race pace. I generally run it faster than my goal race pace when just doing it once. Doing it multiple times at a slower pace will help me to remember what pace I should be running so that hopefully I won't be tempted to "attack" the hill as I might normally do on a flat race. One other thing I have been experimenting with is foot landing; heel/toe vs forefoot landing. I've started to do forefoot landings on the steeper sections and that seems to help me shorten my stride and maintain a rythm through the steeper sections.
                Favorite quote: Stop your crying you little girl! 2011: Mt Washington, Washington Trails, Peaks Island, Pikes Peak.
                HoosierDaddy


                  Good advice from all. Thanks.
                    What race are you training for? There's a race here called La Luz that is about 9 miles up the mountain and I have run it numerous times. When our group trains we go by time. So much up and then so much down. If you would like, I'll email you the schedule. MTA: I didn't see that you are doing Imogene. A lot of people in our La Luz training group are training for Imogene and the program works well. The nice thing about where I live (Albuquerque) is that our mountain goes to about 10,600 feet but we can drive 45 minutes north to Santa Fe and run at 12,000 feet. Let me tell ya, there's a HUGE difference between the two!
                    Finished my first marathon 1-13-2008 in 6:03:37 at P.F. Chang's in Phoenix. PR in San Antonio RnR 5:45:58!!!!!! on 11-16-08 The only thing that has ever made any difference in my running is running. Goal: Break 2:30 in the HM this year Jay Benson Tri (place in Athena category) 5-10-09
                    HoosierDaddy


                      If you would like, I'll email you the schedule.
                      That would be great: hurryinhoosier AT gmail.com
                      olgavidec


                        Hi.. I'm a beginner runner i can only run for 30 min. , i would like to participate in uphill race witch is in about 8 months from now, it's 9 miles long,my question is how should i train for it on what should i work on strength ? durability?and i have another problem i can't run up hill every day the mountain is far from my house, can i replace with road running and gym training ?

                        Sorry for my bad english Sad

                        olgavidec


                          Hi.. I'm a beginner runner i can only run for 30 min. , i would like to participate in uphill race witch is in about 8 months from now, it's 9 miles long,my question is how should i train for it on what should i work on strength ? durability?and i have another problem i can't run up hill every day the mountain is far from my house, can i replace with road running and gym training ?

                          Sorry for my bad english Sad

                            Hi.. I'm a beginner runner i can only run for 30 min. , i would like to participate in uphill race witch is in about 8 months from now, it's 9 miles long,my question is how should i train for it on what should i work on strength ? durability?and i have another problem i can't run up hill every day the mountain is far from my house, can i replace with road running and gym training ?

                            Sorry for my bad english Sad

                             

                            I'd work on plain running for awhile, but adding hills of any size, including rollers. Depending upon how big the mountain is (2000ft, 5000ft?), I'm guessing that would take a couple hours, at least - also depending upon how fast a climber you are. But the amount of vertical has a major effect on how long it will take.

                             

                            Stairs and gym training can also help if you make it running specific. Things like lunges and one-legged balance squats can help. Set tm on whatever incline needed and climb. Stepmills are also helpful.

                             

                            I should also add that running uphill everyday is a good way for a beginner to get injured. Be careful of form both uphill and downhill.

                             

                            Have fun.

                            "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
                            olgavidec


                              ok,thank you,the mountain is 3850 ft,the angle is about 20 degrees, i watched the results from the last race and people need about hour or two hours to finish the race,should i do some particular workouts in the gym ?

                                ok,thank you,the mountain is 3850 ft,the angle is about 20 degrees, i watched the results from the last race and people need about hour or two hours to finish the race,should i do some particular workouts in the gym ?

                                20 degrees is about 36% slope, or did you mean 20% slope. Most people will be hiking that. You could try tm at steepest setting to train for ramplike slopes or stepmill to train for slopes with more steplike features - either from rocks, roots, or just people's foot placement. Lunges can help. Single-legged balance squats help. But nothing replaces the experience gained from going up something similar.

                                 

                                Something I noticed yesterday on a Climbathon (climb up, tram ride down for 10 hrs, 2000ft up in 2.4mi) is that their steps and footholds were spaced further apart than my usual trails (ramplike or closer steps), so I was either using a longer stride than normal or having to double-step some things. My hams were definitely feeling it.

                                "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
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