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Thread: Uphill training tips

  1. #1

    Uphill training tips

    I'm reeeeally slow going uphill. What are the best tips for improvement?

    My sense is that it is my cardio / aerobic fitness that is the weak link - not my legs. This based on the fact that on a 8.2k uphill/ downhill course my legs aren't hurting and still have plenty left in them for the downhill, but my heart rate was averaging about 94% of max on the climb and I am gasping for air.

    In a field of about 100 runners, I was about 40th at the top and apparently really struggling compared to those around me. I made up around 15 places on the down, and would have gone faster if it wasn't for being held up on stretches of single track.

    If my HR is right up there, am I blessed with a crap aerobic system, or is my training lacking something and can I improve my fitness? Are there things in my technique that could be making me work harder?

    Thanks in advance...
    Last edited by bena; 02-06-2017 at 02:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Master Stagger's Avatar
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    Welcome Bena,

    Are you at your best weight for the fells?

    Leg strength needs considering.

    When to run or walk?

    I used to use a Garmin HR monitor and could determine how much to push, working on HR.
    Once I was in the red I paid big time.
    At 50yr old my tempo was 162-165 if I went over for any length of time I suffered and went backwards.
    My Max was 182 at that time.
    A quote,

    "The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall."

  3. #3
    Thanks Stagger - I don't routinely wear a HR monitor but decided to do it to try to better understand why I'm slow on the up (I thought that perhaps I might need to just push harder in races).

    My weight doesn't vary much. 10.5 stone/67kg. Been a couple of pounds lighter at times of intense training.
    I'm 40 and my max HR tested by multiple hill reps is 180. I can normally get up to ~178 on a sprint finish.

    Checking the stats, this particular race was 8.2km, and basically a straight up and down with a 320m climb. I (and everyone around me) was running, not walking the uphill. I had a heart rate of ~170. I held this HR for the duration of the race (uphill and downhill) and managed to increase it to 175 for the last 1.2km. At this HR I was breathing very heavily.

    My assumption on these numbers is that I was working fairly hard, and it's not just a case of needing to push harder in the race, but that there is work to be done training...

    Edited to add - Thanks for the welcome, but actually I'm not new to this forum. I lost my password to my original account and I didn't seem to be able to make the password recovery work or get any response form the admin, so I gave up and made a new account.
    Last edited by bena; 02-06-2017 at 03:43 PM.

  4. #4
    Master Stagger's Avatar
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    Good figures Bena. You have all the knowledge, it just needs putting in to practice.

    Gym session to target specific muscles.

    Hill reps to improve techniques.

    Vary your hills, short 30sec medium 2-4mins long 8+mins
    Also vary the gradient's.

    Hope you show improvement and please keep posting your results.��
    A quote,

    "The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall."

  5. #5
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    I would tentatively suggest a bit of treadmill work. Intervals of running uphill at the max gradient, followed by an interval of either flat fast running, or slow the treadmill down a little and fast uphill walking.

    It's certainly worked for me in improving the "border line" between where I have to run and where I slow to a walk.

    Speed work also helps. But if it's really those hands on knees extremely steep slogs which you need to improve, then I can't recommend much else other than getting out and doing steep hard climbs as much as possible.

  6. #6
    Master noel's Avatar
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    First suggestion: train on the same steepness of hills as you're going to race. And train harder that you push in races. That way you can tell yourself "this is easier than Tuesday night's run". Mental games make all the difference.

    Second suggestion: don't let it worry you. There are people who are great at climbing and those who aren't. Perhaps you're a natural descender. Work on your climbing, but don't neglect your strengths.
    No longer "resting"

  7. #7
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    That limit you were at - pushing hard, short of breath, couldn't go faster if paid 1,000,000 - needs to be revisited in training - explore it, find a slope that enables you to enter it in a short period of time, recover by slowing/walking - then repeat as soon as you have started to recover - don't wait for full recovery. Spend 30 to 60 minutes doing this. And make sure you do a decent warm up before races - suffer a little bit in the warm up, and you will be able to do more before suffering in races.

  8. #8
    Thanks for the suggestions guys - so basically some speed work and some strength work.
    Any particular suggestions on gym work for legs?

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Derby Tup's Avatar
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    My advice is train with folk who are faster than you and have a hard truthful look at your weight. Ben Mounsey took a big step up by losing some (and he ain't a porker). daz h of this parish did same in the past. It sounds daft but 10% off the weight of our dog has made a huge difference

    The good news is I'm convinced improving uphill performance is easier than downhill. You can get better downhill with practice but the good descenders are born. Uphill is much more about physics conditioning and hard graft
    Last edited by Derby Tup; 05-06-2017 at 10:49 AM.
    Poacher turned game-keeper

  10. #10
    Master noel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bena View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions guys - so basically some speed work and some strength work.
    Any particular suggestions on gym work for legs?
    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?
    No longer "resting"

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