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Thread: Uphill training tips

  1. #11
    Super Moderator Derby Tup's Avatar
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    noel, I was going to suggest exactly the same. Hard rideable mountain biking has certainly helped me in the (distant) past and has to be better than pumping iron with a load of muscle-heads
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby Tup View Post
    noel, I was going to suggest exactly the same. Hard rideable mountain biking has certainly helped me in the (distant) past and has to be better than pumping iron with a load of muscle-heads
    I train in a gym with a very heavy reputation as a "weights gym" or if you like "muscle heads".

    To be honest, it's quite a serious gym, whether lifting weights, boxing, rugby, or myself running. So really I just get left alone to do my thing, which they know I'm serious about. To be honest it works well as I've got the pick of the cardio equipment and not much competition for using it!

    I do weights... squats generally, and a very limited amount of leg machine work (there's a discussion about this somewhere else recently, with myself, CL, and a few others all chipping in our two-penneth's worth...

    Certainly weights should not be discounted totally. You can do squats without weights, or even with weights to some extent, without ever setting foot in a gym.

  3. #13
    Super Moderator Derby Tup's Avatar
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    Squats are good. I wasn't discounting gym culture; more expressing my love of exercise outdoors. I completely changed the shape of my legs with the 200 squat challenge plus 10,000 ft of climb. The change seems to be largely permanent
    Poacher turned game-keeper

  4. #14
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    Interesting thread because I 'suffer' from exactly the same problem. Downhill speeds are pleasing and I can keep pace and even overtake people but as soon as hit a climb I seem to stall and people glide past me. However, I've been working on it and things seem to be improving. I'll share a recent example and then explain how I think the improvement has happened.

    Duddon Valley Fell Race: I've done the race about 8 times and typically finish in around 3hrs 50 - 4hrs 10. Typical split times (on 2 of the climbs) are around 46 mins from the start to top of Harter Fell and around 35 mins from Three Shires to Swirl How. This year I finished in 3hrs 35 with noticeable differences in times on the climbs: 42 mins to Harter Fell and 33 mins to Swirl How. I'm still losing a bit of ground on those around me but not as much as previous years and not as much that I can't claw it back again. More importantly, I'm not as tired on these climbs and have enough left to go again when I get to the top.

    The plan: I don't do a huge amount of training (20-30 miles a week with around 6-8,000ft of climbing) but I have tried to be more specific this year. This is what I think has made the biggest difference (in no particular order):

    1. I've lost 2-3lbs in weight. Still have more to lose. But this has to be a factor.
    2. Training: 1 tempo run of around 4 miles/1, 000ft climbing; 1 hill rep session - typically, 10*1 min hill reps on steep ground (scope for harder sessions here); 1 longer run of around 10 miles with big climbs e.g. red pike from buttermere; a couple of easy morning jogs.
    3. Racing - do as many races as you can. I work so much harder in a race.
    4. Cycling: I've replaced a morning jog with a 10 mile bike ride. I'm not a cyclist but my quads do work harder on some of the climbs than if I just went out on an easy jog.
    5. Recovery - rest your body between races. have a couple of days off(even a week after a race) does me wonders.

    Hope that helps a little. Good luck with it all. the body can be trained.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel View Post
    I'd go for cycling rather than gym work. It isolates your quads and is reasonably transferable to uphill running. It also has a lower risk of injury and is more enjoyable. However, opinion is divided in these parts - where's CL to voice the benefits of weight training?
    But cycling doesn't isolate the quads. It is actually a compound movement. And what is a bicycle if not an exercise machine?

    Until you've trained under the supervision of a competent person on a resistance/weight training program you really don't know what hard training is. And if you haven't you're not really in a position to make comparisons.

    Oh and finding a competent person is almost impossible even amongst qualified people. So if you decide to have a go good luck with that.

  6. #16
    Master mr brightside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CL View Post
    But cycling doesn't isolate the quads. It is actually a compound movement. And what is a bicycle if not an exercise machine?
    FWIW, i find cycling very effective at isolating the lateral quads, i can tell this from what it does to my kneecap tracking. If you look at pro cyclists, it seems to show on them i think.

    I've been doing a lot of weight work recently, as i have no idea when i'll be running again. I use the 45deg inclined press, the one used in a seated position. I don't always take the carriage off its catches, just working through the last 8 inches of the press really targets the medial aspect. You can fire the carriage up really aggressively to train your muscles to produce as close to 100% power as fast as possible, rather than a nice controlled lift; this wouldn't be ideal from a deeper position and would likely result in injury, but i get really good results and isolation in the VMO. I can knock it off the catches an do deeper sets if i wish. I only load it up with 100kg, that way you can rep up into the 30s which simulates climbing very closely. You don't get the stability aspect of using a free bar, but i wouldn't want that anyway, i do stability in different ways.
    Can't climb for toffee...

  7. #17
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    For what it is worth my attempts to get faster uphill has made me think a lot about how to get better...this is kind of what I've tried and has worked for me. I'm no expert and it's a long post but there might be something of some use to you.

    1) If you want to run fast hill (you finished in the top 40% so any real improvement would be taking you probably into the top 30 at least) so you first of all have to look at the amount of real speed you have to play with. Fast hill runners are fast runners on the flat and there's a definite correlation. There's the odd runner who has an uncanny knack for ascending quickly (usually with a caveat like super steep) but generally your top end climbing speed is well linked to flat pace. There's a little deviation but not as much is made out sometimes.

    2) Running uphill is certifiably the best way of improving uphill speed. Hills at any time are great in training. I try to put them in pretty much every run in some way, except for the odd flat tempo session which will probably have less than 30ft of climb per mile. Hill reps are good, as is running uphills in steady runs as tempo efforts and even slogging around a long hilly run. I'm lucky enough to enjoy running uphills so I don't mind it too much.

    3) When I do this in conjunction with some faster running at some other time (usually a flat tempo run or an interval session on the road) I reap the benefits of this even more. I've been running strongly uphill- by my average standard - on two occasions in the past three years, both times I was combining good speed work on the flatter stuff and a lot of hills in my running. I don't do silly-short reps or but I mix up track and road stuff to get a bit more top end speed.

    4) Strength work is a massive help. One of my biggest problems with running hills has always been a tendency to keel over a little and probably have too weak quads for the picking my legs up. I've tried to sort that out by doing a fair bit of core work: various planks, supermans, pull-ups, press-ups and also deadlifts. I've always done a bit of outright strength stuff like a chest day or arms and stuff but really that's maybe a couple of easy days a month - it does help though and you won't get ridiculously big like some people think. A lot of fell runners think they'll do a few press-ups and then all of a sudden they'll be getting cast as Arnie in the new Predator reboot and no longer able to get around a BOFRA on a Saturday afternoon. Strength work is a really good thing to look at seriously as a way to improve, it's certainly helped me loads over the past three years I've been doing more of it with my running. It's one of those things where as I've improved at it my running has always improved as well...it's also a good thing to do on a rest day! I don't really do any leg specific stuff like quads, calves, hamstrings etc because I like to rest my legs so I can run hard in more sessions...it's a choice made at the moment out of what I enjoy doing more but if I seem to plateau I'll look to add more in for certain. The one thing I do frequently (sometimes daily) deadlifts with a light weight (bodyweight), generally I do it when I've had a bit of a niggling injury in my leg as they seem to be a miracle cure and they really hit the legs.

    4) Recently when I've been thinking about my uphill running I've noticed a lot that I can blow up quite hard from running too quickly at the bottom. I've started trying to make sure that when I'm climbing my breathing is completely regulated and I'm not blowing too hard. Usually the speed difference between breathing heavily on a climb or keeping it calm and controlled isn't too far apart in terms of speed and it's always better to be getting time back at the top than trying to clutch onto seconds as people reovertake you after half the climb. I've practised this a lot on running a lot of steady hills at tempo pace but concentrating on being on that edge for breathing controlled. Obviously you might have the mental pain to push on that much harder side of hard on a climb and not bonk - for me I'm working towards that but it's a long slog (much like most hills.

    In short, to try and get better uphill I've had to do more uphill running, do strength work and also seriously look at improving my absolute pace on the flat. Breathing is a good thing and might be worth a look at as well whilst you're doing those things.

    A really long answer that I enjoyed writing more than intended. I'm no expert either so take it with a pinch of salt, they're pretty logical though and loads of people would recommend them, I'm pretty much just repeating various things I've read and tried myself - these are the ones which I enjoy and seem to help me improve. I'm always trying to consider what to do improve more, usually as a side thought when I'm running up a hill and I promise myself I'm going to do more yoga, more leg strength work, more reps, more everything. Just pick some things and try them - eventually you'll find some things which work and are fun.

    Happy running.
    Trying to plod up hills every day slightly faster than the day before

  8. #18
    Senior Member Dave_Mole's Avatar
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    Breathing is a good thing and might be worth a look at
    yes, I reccommend breathing. It's got a lot going for it
    ....it's all downhill from here.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Mole View Post
    yes, I reccommend breathing. It's got a lot going for it
    Top banter!
    Trying to plod up hills every day slightly faster than the day before

  10. #20
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    Interesting about weight loss/gain. I put on about 10lb on purpose last year as my wife said I was too skinny-I don't think I was 6'2 and 11st5. I'm now up to 12st-not exactly fat mind you. Been doing the same amount of running but eating more and doing more strength work. I've really noticed my uphill times slowing, about 10% on a long climb. On the flat and downhill I'm fine-well as fine as I get. I just assumed I was past it (47) but maybe its lugging the extra bulk about?

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