Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

THE WIN­TER MONTHS present a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity for run­ners to work against grav­ity and build strength in a sim­ple, free and ef­fec­tive way that also im­proves tech­nique. Work­ing against grav­ity creates re­sis­tance which in­creases work­load. If you’re look­ing for a high-in­ten­sity work­out, a hill or a longer flight of stairs will get you up to a high-in­ten­sity ef­fort quickly. With the con­stant re­sis­tance that grav­ity pro­vides it’s easy to stay at a higher in­ten­sity through­out the in­ter­val.

From a tech­ni­cal per­spec­tive, run­ning up­hill or up stairs promotes mid- to fore­foot land­ing. It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to heel-strike (land heel first) which can help pro­mote a higher tempo or ca­dence. Land­ing mid- to fore­foot of­ten means less ground con­tact time and can be co­or­di­nated with a short, compact arm swing, which is also favourable. Fi­nally, run­ning up­hill is great for run­ning pos­ture. It’s nat­u­ral to lean slightly for­ward.

Run­ning up­hill re­quires more mus­cu­lar ac­tiv­ity in the pos­te­rior chain mus­cles (erec­tor spinae, gluteal group) and so it strength­ens your pos­tural mus­cles which will im­prove your run­ning form. Couple this with the need for shorter, more ex­plo­sive steps and you have the mak­ings of a great sport-spe­cific strength work­out. This is par­tic­u­larly true when run­ning up stairs. The mus­cle ac­tiv­ity re­quired is sim­i­lar to do­ing plyometrics par­tic­u­larly if the in­ter­val length is short and in­tense. This type of train­ing stim­u­lus will help in­crease your speed and strength dra­mat­i­cally.

Run­ning up is a great way to avoid in­juries that re­sult from im­pact which is one of the lead­ing causes of run­ning-re­lated in­juries. No mat­ter how tal­ented a run­ner you are, run­ning is hard on your body. When you run fast on flat sur­faces you dra­mat­i­cally in­crease the amount of load­ing on the body thus in­creas­ing your risk for an im­pact-re­lated in­jury. Run­ning up­hill or up stairs gen­er­ates less im­pact load than sim­i­lar in­ten­si­ties on flat­ter ter­rain which may help you avoid in­jury.

Psy­cho­log­i­cally speak­ing, run­ning on hilly ter­rain has in­cred­i­ble ben­e­fits. Triath­letes spend a lot of time pound­ing the pave­ment and rac­ing on flat, hard sur­faces. In the late fall and win­ter months it can be en­gag­ing to get out on hil­lier ter­rain. Don’t be afraid to in­cor­po­rate some snow­shoe­ing into your train­ing. Given that snowshoe trails are of­ten lo­cated at ski hills there will be no short­age of ver­ti­cal to con­quer.

But, you don’t need to live in a moun­tain town to get el­e­va­tion. You can use very short hills and do mul­ti­ple rep­e­ti­tions or you can find an of­fice build­ing and crush the stair­well on your lunch hour. Go­ing up is a great way to in­ject some fun into your pro­gram and there are count­less ben­e­fits. Jasper Blake is an Ironman cham­pion and head coach B78 Coach­ing. Visit:




15 min to the base of a set of stairs or an in­door stair­well that al­lows you to run up for at least 30 sec

5 x (10 sec build­ing ef­fort up stairs, 50 sec easy walk down)

Four rounds of: 30-sec sin­gles (Touch ev­ery stair)

1-min rest/walk back to the start

30-sec­ond dou­bles (touch ev­ery sec­ond stair)

1-min rest/walk back to the start

30 sec triples (touch ev­ery third stair – OR – do dou­bles again if triples are not pos­si­ble)

1-min rest/walk back to the start

10–15 min easy but pay at­ten­tion to the lit­tle things that stair run­ning ex­ag­ger­ates like mid- to fore­foot im­pact, slight for­ward lean and a short compact arm swing.

15 min easy to the base of a hill

5 x (10 sec up­hill build­ing ef­fort, 50 sec easy walk/jog back to the start)

20 min con­tin­u­ous run­ning as fol­lows: 1-min up­hill strong, con­sis­tent ef­fort with easy jog/walk back to the start­ing point. There is no de­fined rest in­ter­val dur­ing this set- just keep run­ning un­til 20 min is fin­ished. The goal is to reach the same end point or higher on each in­ter­val.

10–15 min of easy but mind­ful run­ning con­nect­ing with the lit­tle things that up­hill run­ning ex­ag­ger­ates like mid to fore­foot im­pact, slight for­ward lean and a short compact arm swing.

Jasper Blake is an Ironman cham­pion and head coach at B78 Coach­ing. Visit

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.