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Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

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Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby joelsteidl » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:31 am

Runners,

I'm considering running the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty http://www.goldengatedirtythirty.org/ in June 2013. I believe this 50k has around 8k of elevation gain. I currently run between 1.5k - 3k of elevation on my long runs. I imagine I would need to significantly increase this.

Do you have any tips for training for that kind of elevation gain?

Thanks,

Joel

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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby Chris P. » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:40 pm

I think you've already identified the key: increase the amount of elevation gain you do during your regular runs. The best way to start feeling comfortable with that much elevation gain in a race is to increase the elevation gain in your training.

No need to be doing 8k' of gain in your weekly long runs though (although some do, and it can work well). My advice would be to build your training to peak at 22-26 mile long runs with 5k'-6k' of gain, with a couple of 10-12 mile runs with up to 3k' of gain each week, plus any additional speed and stamina workouts you might want to throw in. This is my regular training approach for this sort of race and it has worked well for me, but the intensity with which you do this is heavily dependent on whether your goal for the race is to finish under 5 hours, or if it's just to finish.

The Dirty Thirty is a great event and I'm sure you'd enjoy it. I've only done the 12 mile version of the race which only does half of the elevation gain of the full 30, but I had a blast at it.

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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby dehrlich101 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:54 pm

I echo what Chris P. says. If you're looking for some good places to run and in the Denver metro area check out. Lookout Mountain, Green Mountain, Deer Creek Canyon (Plymouth Creek Trail has a ton of elevation gain) http://jeffco.us/openspace/openspace_T56_R66.htm, Matthew Winters Park. In the winter when some of the trails aren't accessible for running I will run up the I-70 frontage road to the buffalo herd and back down over Lookout Mountain, the canyon from Morrison to Evergreen, Bear Creek Lake Park has a lot of paved walk ways that they plow with some good elevation gain.

Nutrition and good fluid intake is also key. Normally I consume around 100 calories per 6 miles, during a marathon. I've been training for a 50 miler, and now am eating around 100 calories per 3 miles. While training try eating as much as you can without getting sick. The more fuel that you give your body the better it will perform, and drink your water!

Read Relentless Forward Progress too. A lot of good information and some training plans for ultras. http://www.irunfar.com/rfp
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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby siop » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:58 pm

I totally recommend hill repeats too. I would also recommend training to hike some of the uphills. North Table stays pretty dry in the winter. And a bit outside of Denver but where I do most of my training is Pine Valley Open Space park. You can do long loops, I know of loops up to 50 miles, and get good elevation gain. It also stays relatively dry in the winter. I rarely need anything more than screws in my shoes. Basically if you can try to get some decent elevation gain in your weekly training runs, I typically get 1.5-2k on weekday runs, and more on a long run you should be good. Sounds like you already have a pretty good base.

I definitely agree practicing your nutrition is key! I have horrible stomach issues in ultras so I use mainly perpetum since it seems to stay down better. Practice different things and see what works best for you.

There's a great half marathon in Salida in March that would be good training as well. Good luck!

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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby Theodore » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:26 pm

Do you think the book would be good for marathoners as well? I'm training for my first (Austin) and running is my "thing" now... as such, I obsess with my current hobbies. God info in there, transferable to lesser mileage?

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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby madbuck » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:07 pm

Cool, not sure what your previous elevation gain/distance training has been, but there are a couple of fairly popular training aspects to keep in mind:

* Downhill running over that amount of elevation loss and distance can often significantly affect your race more than uphill running. Obviously uphills are quite important, but based on the assumption from the fact that you're on a hiking website, you'll be able to make it up the hills. Walking downhill when your quads are shot really sucks.

Incorporating downhill and technical trails into your regular runs is certainly a good idea, with good tips above. Additional training ideas would be occasional hard sustained downhill runs, including a sustained downhill of 5-10 miles run fairly hard about 2-4 weeks before your race. This causes stress on your quads and microtears in the muscle, which, when repaired, increases strength and resilience to subsequent injury ("quad hardening"). The benefits last for weeks (but not forever, unless further stimulated) afterward once you have recovered.

Of course, you should be prepared to run hard downhills like this by through previous months of training, to ensure that your musculoskeletal system is prepared.

Some folks successfully incorporate weight-training or plyometrics as well.

* Uphill: Unless you're going to win, be a fast hiker. (and even still, fast people in that race will still do some hiking). This requires actual practice, and a good hiking speed can often help you pass "runners". Find a hiking speed that keeps your heart rate consistent with the effort you want for the duration of the race (you don't need a fancy heart-rate monitor: mostly, avoid a noticeable increase in effort and hearing your heart pounding in your head).
If you are going to hike part of the race, then, start hiking as early as the first few miles, when appropriate on steeper hills, which is much more efficient than a naive approach of running as long as possible and then walking to the finish. (That's more of a race strategy, but it may influence how you want to train).

And then all the other advice above regarding good local trails and races.

Let me know if you want references on this (there are both actual studies and successful training logs, it's pretty typical training methodology for this stuff).

Good luck and have fun!

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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby bob863 » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:43 am

run a 14'er...Evans, Pikes, Longs (yes, I've actually seen someone run up to Long's summit)...or whatever 14'er you choose...

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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby DaveSwink » Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:32 pm

Consider running the Fear the Deer Half Marathon (Littleton) on May 11. It is a fun trail race with 2400' gain.

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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby pbakwin » Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:26 pm

Well if you're any relation to this guy you'll have no problem:
http://ulisteidl.blogspot.com/?m=1

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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby cheeseburglar » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:46 pm

I'm not very fast and can't go very long, but here is what I do.
Lunges. Instead of walking. I do lunges around the house and it helps soothe the baby when she is angry.
I've thought about taking it to the next level, meaning not walking normally anywhere. Walking is a waste of time when you could be training. Grocery stores, post office, down the street.
That would really pump up the quads and it might freak some people out. Or pick you up some girls, hard to say.
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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby dehrlich101 » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:43 pm

Theodore wrote:Do you think the book would be good for marathoners as well? I'm training for my first (Austin) and running is my "thing" now... as such, I obsess with my current hobbies. God info in there, transferable to lesser mileage?


Theodore - Yeah I think the 50 k training agenda could be adjusted for a marathon, but the information inside is definitely geared towards 50k, 50m, 100m plus. There are several good marathon training books out there that would be better for a first time marathoner.
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Re: Training for running lots of Elevation Gain

Postby thebeave7 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:29 pm

The Dirty Thirty is a great race, tough first 50k, but definitely doable, especially if you're a strong hiker.

Having run the Dirty Thirty and numerous other hilly trail ultras I will echo the previous sentiments. Get in quite a few solid hill training sessions, preferably with numerous 1000ft+ climbs, especially climbs late in the run. That last climb up Windy Peak can be a biotch. Also practice speed hiking the climbs, as previously mentioned unless you're planning on racing to win, you'll probably be hiking quite a few of the hills.

I also agree with the "running downhill" comment. I train a lot hammering nice long downhills on Green Mt (in Boulder) or Bear Peak, and it definitely pays dividends in your final time and how well your quads hold up on race day.

Nutrition and hydration (and electrolytes) are also big factors. Train how you plan to race, its usually recommended about 100-200 calories/h, but what you take is very individual. I can make some suggestions of what has worked for me and others I know if you would like a few ideas. The Dirty Thirty specifically can be hot on race day and some of those trails get exposed to the sun, so be ready.

Those are a few thoughts, feel free to PM me if you have some specific questions, I've been through enough ultras over the past 6 years to have learned a few things, though in all honesty I can't hold a candle to Mr pbakwin :bow: I may even see you out there on race day, debating running again this year, depending on how next weekend's lottery goes.

Eric
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