Tag: vertical training

Flagstaff VK Tshirt Reveal

Got my shirt from the Flagstaff VK a couple weeks ago, but it took a while to get around to making this box opening video. Well, envelope opening. So here you go, my Flagstaff Skyrace Tshirt out of the wrapper.

Flagstaff VK Bib #432
Flagstaff VK Bib #432

When I registered on that Friday morning they told me there was some confusion in the shirt order and that they would be available for pickup at the store in Flagstaff at 3 PM, about 3 hours after the run. I had to get back home for a cyclocross race the next morning, so it would be really difficult to make that pickup and then get home much before 2 AM.

Flagstaff VK Starting line at the bottom of the Arizona Snow Bowl
Flagstaff VK Starting line at the bottom of the Arizona Snow Bowl

After the run they handed me a commemorative glass and said the shirts were even slower than expected, so they might not be available until 7 PM. I asked if they could mail it, and she said sure. So I took off for home. About a week later the shirt arrived and sat at my desk while I adjusted to my new job in my new office with my new training schedule.

Flagstaff VK finish line at the top of the Arizona Snow Bowl Lifts
Flagstaff VK finish line at the top of the Arizona Snow Bowl Lifts

Here it is, and along with it, my new training main goal.

 

Flagstaff VK Tshirt RevealGot my shirt from the Flagstaff VK (Vertical Kilometer). Gotta get my train on, hey?

Posted by Seven Summits Body on Sunday, November 8, 2015

Vertical K Training: Video on the hill

Training along the flanks of Mount Mahogany outside Pleasant Grove UT. This is a branch of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail with a fork up a Strava Segment titled “Green Monster” which I hadn’t been able to find. This time there was no question and I scurried up to the fork where the segment ended. Logically since it was a T intersection to a relatively flat trail. There were grades of 40% plus on this one.

Altra Zero Drop Olympus 1.5. Not enough miles for a real review
Altra Zero Drop Olympus 1.5. Not enough miles for a real review

I have a relatively new pair of Altra Running Mens Olympus 1.5 which I’ve been breaking in. First thoughts? The medial support is a little much. The toe rocker was disturbing in the store but hardly noticeable on the trail. If I start running on pavement before running on the trail I don’t like the feel, but if I start running on pavement after running on the trail it’s all good. More later, since I don’t have all that many miles on them yet.

Skyrunning training with Black Diamond carbon fiber Z-poles
Skyrunning training with Black Diamond carbon fiber Z-poles

After my nearly 2 mile approach, after the descent some time was spent looking for a shortcut. Grove Creek Canyon seemed to be a lot closer than the Timpanogos Park parking area, so next time that will be the starting point. There was a great steep hill at the fork in the BST (Bonneville Shoreline Trail) so I did a sprint up that for some great fun. The top was a perfect setting for some pics and video.

Posted by Seven Summits Body on Saturday, September 19, 2015

Strava showed some of my usual middle of the pack mixed with top results. The key for the Vertical K will be in how long I can keep up what speed. I’ll do a few more posts next week as the date gets closer. Stay in the loop.

Strava Stats for my Saturday Vertical K Training Run
Strava Stats for my Saturday Vertical K Training Run

Treadmill Training for Hills

Why would anyone consider treadmill training for hills?

Here are some of my favorite reasons:

  • Recovery from injury
  • Meeting specific goals
  • Controlled environment
  • Weather
  • Time
  • Local terrain

Let me take a few minutes to examine each of these reasons or excuses for treadmill training for hills.

First of all is recovery from injury. I myself am currently in this group. About a month ago I went for a hike with some 18-20 year old guys I know, and we ascended Mount Royal in Frisco CO. It was fun, but then they all decided to run down and I, like an old man in denial, decided to keep up with them. I did set a PR, but part of that is that I rarely run down, deciding instead (wisely) to preserve my knees.

Hiking group at the saddle on Mount Royal in Frisco, CO
Hiking group at the saddle on Mount Royal in Frisco, CO

So now, yeah, my knees are thrashed. I took a few weeks off, tried to get back into running, but the trails I can get to easily are all up and down, and the downhill was killing me. My knees would never recover on those trails, so I’ll be doing some treadmill training for hills.

Why? The steady incline allows me to set vertical goals without having to endure the descent. This will allow me to maintain some mileage while giving my knees a chance to heal.

Second advantage to treadmill training for hills is that it facilitates meeting specific goals. If you have a goal that includes speeds, or elevation gains, or heart rate, it’s a lot easier to measure, monitor, and track on a treadmill. Need to go 3.0 miles at 5%? Just set it and forget it on the treadmill.

Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S treadmill training for hills
Anaerobic Threshold Training setup with Suunto Ambit 2S on the handle of the treadmill

If your goal also includes a heart rate, such as with Anaerobic Threshold Training ARTICLE HERE you can set the watch up in view and then adjust your speed up and down to maintain your heart rate in the prescribed zone. That’s a lot harder to do outside.

Third, it’s a controlled environment. You can wear whatever you want, the incline can be as steady or varied as you want, the speed can be anything you want. There is a bathroom just down the hall. You can refill your water or supplement bottles all you want.

Fourth, is weather. Treadmill training for hills avoids a lot of the complications of the weather and time. When it comes right down to it, if you want to practice being completely and totally soaked and frozen, with sheets of ice on your pants, then it’s probably a lot of fun to go do that outside. But you can’t promise that you will be able to maintain your pace, distance, heart rate, or any of your other goals while struggling for survival.

Winter Trail Running Salomon Spikecross on snowcat tracks
Winter Trail Running Salomon Spikecross on snowcat tracks

Fifth is time. This is a big deal for a lot of people. Sometimes that awesome hill climb route is an hour or more away, You can’t really justify taking that much time out of your day when there is a treadmill in your own home, your own apartment complex, or the gym on the way to work.

Sixth, is local terrain. There are a lot of people who have contacted me with the sad fact that there are no hills in their area. There is a lot to be said for running 5 miles at 6% incline. You can’t really duplicate that experience with stadium running, which really does use very different muscles. For hiking that would be great, but not for running. Some people advocate hill repeats on a 50′ hill, if you have access to one. That might work great for sprint training, but it doesn’t quite duplicate that same type of endurance that 5 miles at 6% does. Treadmill training for hills solves that problem in a very handy, easy to find, easy to use method.

How to use treadmill training for hills

Vertical training protocols are the main focus of my book “Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging” and I really suggest you get one if you’re serious about planning a program around vertical goals. It takes you from “the couch” to nearly 4,000′ of vertical per week over a 16 week period, which I feel is a worthy goal for most anyone who is not used to hills.

Treadmill training for hills helped me ascend Orizaba quickly
Treadmill training for hills helped me ascend Orizaba quickly

While the book is specific to hiking, the goal charts include vertical and horizontal goals that you can also achieve through increasing the speed on the treadmill while running on it. That also means you can spend less time on the treadmill, since you’ll be moving twice or more as fast. In my own training I use a similar set of protocols.

Here is a sample of a treadmill training chart as used in the manual, adjusted for 4% inclination, rather than the goal incline of 15% used for hiking:

Week 5 6 7 8
Target Weekly Vertical Ft 1,130 1,255 1,395 1,550
Weekly Miles at 4% 5.349 5.943 6.604 7.338
Incline Miles Per Session (x4) 1.337 1.486 1.651 1.834

As you can see, if you’re a runner it’s really easy to get these miles in every week. If you’re a beginning runner it shouldn’t be too hard either.

I wanted to introduce you to the idea of treadmill training for hills, and give you a few of the best reasons for doing it. I also wanted to show you an example training goal chart, modified for running from my training manual.

In an upcoming article I will explain how to adjust all the charts in the manual for running, rather than hiking, and talk a little bit about using VAM for training goals.

VAM is the abbreviation for the Italian term velocità ascensionale media, translated in English to mean “average ascent speed” or “mean ascent velocity”, but usually referred to as VAM. — WIKI

Thanks, and let me know if there are any questions or things I did not explain adequately.

Treadmill Training for Hills in my own garage
Treadmill training for hills in my own garage

Stair Climbing for Mountaineering Fitness

Stair Climbing for Mountaineering Fitness – the Video

Stair Climbing is a great way to train for mountaineering fitness if you don’t have access to an incline treadmill or Stairmaster Stepmill. If you are creative in locating a set of steps you can try stair climbing as your own way to get in your vertical feet per week goals as spelled out in my “Mountaineering Fitness: Beginner Training Manual” available soon in Paperback and Amazon Kindle. PROGRAM HERE

Stair climbing also has the added benefit of providing negative, or eccentric contractions just like in a real hiking environment. Stepmills and treadmills do not help train your muscles that provide balance, stabilization and deceleration for your downhill hiking. Stair climbing does since you have to go down any staircase you go up. You would be hard pressed to find a stairway over a hundred feet high, so getting in a thousand feet of vertical will require that you do laps when stair climbing.

You will also need to allow for the downward steps when calculating your time. I have found for myself that I go about twice as fast on the way down. In the video I did a test with a stopwatch to find that I was doing a little under :30 (thirty seconds) per lap. With 54 laps required that comes out to around 25 minutes of stair climbing to get in my target vertical.

A few things to be aware of though for stair climbing:

  1. Be sure to be very careful and under control on the way down
  2. Keep your back in a good neutral arch which can be more difficult on the way up
  3. If you’re on slippery wet stairs be a lot more careful, or on metal stairs with some shoes
  4. Use the handrail if needed until you get your balance and strength up to par

From my Youtube Channel: 

In the Mountaineering Fitness: Beginner Training Manual I go into great depth on training on stairs to get in your weekly vertical. I explain the math used to calculate your weekly vertical goals and how to use warm-up and cool-down walking to get in your weekly mileage goals.

In this case there are 21 steps 8″ average height for a total of 54 laps required to get in the target 750′ of vertical (based on 3,000′ of weekly vertical and 4 training sessions). I measured 24 seconds on an average lap without really rushing it, so expect the entire workout to take about 25 minutes on the stairs.

Production Note: For this video my microphone picked up all the noises from a road a few hundred yards away and a crow that was annoyed by my presence on his stairs. Unfortunately the noise reduction was minimally effective. Normally I would do ADR recording but I wasn’t on my studio PC, so I apologize for those few things that were more difficult to understand.

Stair Climbing for Mountaineering Fitness early morning training session
Stair Climbing for Mountaineering Fitness early morning training session