/ Running up hills

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Ferret on 22 May 2013
Whats better training? - running (in my case very slowly) up the steep bits, gritting teeth and refusing to give in to the odd walk or accepting that you need a walk once in a while and actually overall the end time may well be the same (I sometimes (have to!) walk bits of my hillier routes and the time is rarely significantly worse than times when I grind along at a pathetic jog).
IainRUK - on 22 May 2013
In reply to Ferret: Depends.. in training I think run.. in a race I'll walk but it depends on the length. Once you stop running it can be hard to get going again so although you may go the same speed the transition onto the flat is quicker. Keeping running will keep your heart rate higher.
The New NickB - on 22 May 2013
In reply to Ferret:

Road hills or fell hills, usual advice is when it is quicker to walk walk, but on most road hills it should be quicker to run.
Steff - on 22 May 2013
In reply to Ferret:

Train for what you want to be good at. If you want to race, this depends on your target race, or the type of race you want to be good at. If you are aiming to do short(ish) trail races then it's best to maximize running, if you are aiming to do really steep mountain races or long ultras in which walking is a good idea, then train for that.
Ferret on 22 May 2013
In reply to Ferret: Some good thoughts - I tend not to need to walk on roads... its proper steep stuff. I run for fun/fitness and in an attempt to keep hill fitness for sporadic walking and climbing - cramming height gain/excercise into an hour or twos session rather than a full hillwalk which I do all to rarely at present.
But I sort of monitor 'progress' via time taken to do a route and or managing to do a route without walking that previously I have needed to.
parkovski - on 22 May 2013
In reply to Ferret:

On training runs I work on the principle that if I'm out for significantly more than an hour I'm mainly interested in constant efficient effort, so will walk if needs be. Under an hour I work to the maxim "if you're not coughing up blood you're not trying."
DancingOnRock - on 22 May 2013
In reply to Ferret: Running up hills requires a slightly different approach to running on the flat. Lift your knees up high and get up on your toes. Shorten your stride if necessary but keep your cadence the same. Keep your head up and look up at the crest. I breathe in on left foot and out on right, where usually on flat I'll breathe in on left foot and out next left foot.

Attack the hill - it is there to be conquered.
Ferret on 23 May 2013
In reply to DancingOnRock: Hmm - I'm a head down grinder - I like this - shall give it a go....
ablackett - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Ferret: In races recently I have found that I can reduce my heart rate and only loose a bit of speed by walking when others are running. Then I put on a quick burst run a bit till my whole body is screaming at me to stop, make up a few places on the field, then walk again and repeat, it looks bonkers but I reckon it works.
HB1 - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Ferret: if I'm running off road on steep ground I try to keep going - but common sense tells me it's self-defeating. I get so far, and then sometimes have to stop to get my breath back. I can also remember from years back when I raced a bit that folks walking would pass me running (and I was still finishing in the first third)- that's bad, psychologically speaking. If I'm on the road the I wouldn't ever have to stop - it's all about maintaining a set speed and rhythm (well - that's what happened on yesterday's run, which was a mixture of road and rough)
Irk the Purist - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Ferret:

If I'm racing, I go as quick as I can and depending on the race/terrain/length I will walk if it's quicker.

When I'm training, I always run unless my lungs are coming out my nose because that makes me quicker in races and I have to walk less.

DancingOnRock - on 23 May 2013
In reply to HB1:
> (In reply to Ferret)... it's all about maintaining a set speed and rhythm (well - that's what happened on yesterday's run, which was a mixture of road and rough)

I think it's more about maintaining a constant heart rate. Reduce your pace or stride length to maintain the same effort.
stairclimber10000 on 23 May 2013 - 62.25.109.200 whois?
In reply to DancingOnRock: On related note, I dont have access to any hills, but I do have access to lots of stairs, any training tips for training on stairs?
Marek - on 23 May 2013
In reply to DancingOnRock:
The trouble with training for hills by 'running despite the gradient' is that you end up running very slowly in a manner totally unlike what you'ld do in a race (where you power-walk the steep bits). In training it makes more sense to determine your target running 'race pace' and then run that as far as possible, then power-walk to recover a bit, then run at race pace again (and so on). You are then training (a) the pace and gait you use in the race and (b) getting use to the phsychological disruption of run-walk-run.
Irk the Purist - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Marek:

That was the reply of a quitter.

:o)
DancingOnRock - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Marek:
> (In reply to DancingOnRock)
> The trouble with training for hills by 'running despite the gradient' is that you end up running very slowly in a manner totally unlike what you'ld do in a race (where you power-walk the steep bits). In training it makes more sense to determine your target running 'race pace' and then run that as far as possible, then power-walk to recover a bit, then run at race pace again (and so on). You are then training (a) the pace and gait you use in the race and (b) getting use to the phsychological disruption of run-walk-run.

I agree. However, you're training, there becomes a point when you will make better progress with the same heart rate by walking. It's difficult on a forum to visualise what the OP terms as a 'hill'. Personally, you can run up any hill, mountains have to be walked up.

Marek - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Eric the Red:
> (In reply to Marek)
>
> That was the reply of a quitter.
>
> :o)

I'll take that as a compliment.
We all quit sooner or later.
The question is whether you quit to best effect.
Or 'A Winning Strategy Based on Tactical Quitting' - I should write the book. Or register a patent. But wait... prior art... Interval training. Damn.
Ferret on 23 May 2013
In reply to DancingOnRock: Well... Monday I did 10kms and 350m height gain with most of that in the middle couple of km - up Arthurs seat by a convoluted route (Edinburgh) - steep to my mind! I'm somebody who generally has ran roads (hilly enough but no problems) and is now trying to run what I have previously hill walked - the Pentlands, the Lamermuirs etc - mainly as mountaineering is 'my thing' but I dodn't have the time at present so I may as well do my running in a similar environmnet locally and hopefully gain/improve hill fitness for the rare proper mountaineering outings. Wed I did the same route again, 5 minutes fatser and barely walked any sections (felt stronger and weather way better... i.e monday was like running in a steam bath, Wednesday was warm but breezy).

I guess I was wondering if building strength/stamina is done most efficiently by just covering the ground reasonably quickly (running where you can, dropping to walk so that you can then run faster again once legs recover a little) or by doggedly keeping to a run even when you don't want to and even when doing a new route with more steepness than you are used to. I've noticed myself that if I walk, its hard to get going again so I do try to run as every step further is one more running step... if walking the temptation to just take another stride before breaking back into a run is strong so I'm sure once I start to walk, I walk longer than I should/absolutely have to.
KlaasW on 23 May 2013
In reply to Ferret:

What would be considered a good rate of vertical climb? For example, doing a half marathon in 2 hours is good, 1.5 hours pretty good, and 1 hour world-record-like. What is a typical time to go up 500m or 1000m, or 1600m? Yesterday, I did 700m in 1 hour (Mt Yufu in Japan), is that any good at all or just pants?
IainRUK - on 23 May 2013
In reply to KlaasW: Not bad.. 15m/min as a rough guess..

600m in 40 minutes at a steady pace.

Snowdon race just under 1000m in just over 50 minutes.. nearer 20.. thats a very runnable incline though..

You did around 12m/min.. so not far off.
parkovski - on 23 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

This depends on the gradient both ways. If it's too runnable a gradient you height gain will be slower as you're spending most of your energy covering horizontal distance. On steep ground it is easy to gain height at that rate while walking.

I agree though that 15m per min is a good indicator - a couple of weeks ago I ran the welsh 3000's with a friend, and we managed to keep around this pace on all the climbs.
IainRUK - on 23 May 2013
In reply to parkovski: Aye thats what I look at on paddy buckley things as a rough estimate..

Snowdon is about perfect as you can keep a nice run going.. at times too flat. But doubt you'd exceed 20 by much over a long ascent unless a top runner.
parkovski - on 23 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

No, 20 for me is well beyond sustainable. I started up cat bells at about that rate on Sunday but was very glad to reach the ridge. needless to say the other significant climbs of the day (Dale Head, Grey knotts, Gable) were all probably taken at about 15m/min.

On a typical 23 hour schedule for the Bob Graham Round the uphill only scetions are taken at a similar pace:

Steel fell 15m/min
Yewbarrow 13.75m/min
Dalehead 15.1m/min

Skiddaw is also approx 15m/min if you time it from outside keswick, ditto Clough Head drom the base of the hill.
mbh - on 23 May 2013
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Similarly in distinguishing between trees and bushes. You fall out of trees and into bushes.
mbh - on 23 May 2013
In reply to parkovski:
How do you measure your ascent rate? With a GPS gizmo, or with a watch and knowledge of the terrain? Do you know your ascent rate as you go, or find out afterwards, using a map or web site? I'm doing the Welsh 3000s on Sunday, but with my wife, so not running.
IainRUK - on 23 May 2013
In reply to mbh: base to top... use your GPS but long term avergare... never stop.. make her run.. :-)
IainRUK - on 23 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK: average....
parkovski - on 23 May 2013
In reply to mbh:

If you want to know as you're moving an altimeter is the best bet, which will normally give a time averaged ascent rate (I think my suunto vector does a rolling average over 1 minute). Normally though it's a case of timing your ascent and looking at the map.

Hope you get nice weather on Sunday.
yorkshireman - on 24 May 2013
In reply to mbh:
> (In reply to parkovski)
> How do you measure your ascent rate? With a GPS gizmo, or with a watch and knowledge of the terrain?

Bit of both. I use strava but for instance have some known runs. This is my current nemesis

http://app.strava.com/segments/2150410

585m height gain in 3.9km (15pct average gradient) and I'm really aiming to beat the 40 minute mark.

Looking at the pace and elevation graph, and going on anecdotal evidence I definitely drop off and walk sections, but aim to never stop. I think running slowly but with a much shorter stride length helps as it takes the effort out of your legs and 'gears' it down to your CV system which should be able to handle the sustained effort better.



Eric9Points - on 24 May 2013
In reply to parkovski:

I've got a Garmin watch and a while ago I figured out that if I looked at the elevation graph on the processed results and graphed it against time rather than distance it showed me what my rate of ascent was.

It was interesting in that when graphed that way it almost looks like saw teeth with the angle of each "tooth" being almost exactly the same.

I do about 2100 ft/h on munros, my excuse is that I'm reaaly old..
yorkshireman - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to parkovski)
>
> I've got a Garmin watch and a while ago I figured out that if I looked at the elevation graph on the processed results and graphed it against time rather than distance it showed me what my rate of ascent was.

Another plus for Strava (I don't work for them, honest!).

They calculate your VAM, which is vertical ascent in metres per hour.

On the segment I mentioned earlier it was 745m/hour. According to their site:

VAM measures your Vertical Ascent in Meters/hour it measures how quickly you are traveling upward. VAM is useful for comparing your effort on different hills and segments, and is used by both cyclists and runners. To get a high VAM score, grades between 6-10% generally present the best opportunity to ascend quickly, as they are steep enough to avoid wind, and gradual enough to allow unrestricted motion.

So after about 10% it would seem that the effort is too much to maintain a consistent/strong pace. You might conclude that this is where it becomes more efficient to walk.
parkovski - on 24 May 2013

"grades between 6-10% generally present the best opportunity to ascend quickly, as they are steep enough to avoid wind, and gradual enough to allow unrestricted motion."

This may apply to cycling, but for running it is clearly nonsense! The easiest way to gain height on foot is to eliminate the wasting of energy in horizontal movement. Worth considering the implications of this to naismiths rule.

"...this is where it becomes more efficient to walk." The point at which it becomes more efficient to walk varies based on your fitness. For a given person there will be a gradient, but that is a secondary result of their ability to maintain an advantageous stride length and cadence over walking.

Hirosim - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Ferret:
I am going to use a tower block. Should I use one step or 2 at a time? Or is it better to even do lunge up 3 at a time to build leg power? I think that one step builds a higher aerobic ability at a higher cadence perhaps, but it seems very small steps.
What do u think?
IainRUK - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Hirosim: Just one step.. run naturally as possible.. its all about cadence.
yorkshireman - on 25 May 2013
In reply to parkovski:

> This may apply to cycling, but for running it is clearly nonsense! The easiest way to gain height on foot is to eliminate the wasting of energy in horizontal movement. Worth considering the implications of this to naismiths rule.

I would say the more 'vertical' routes though are less sustainable over time so it clearly depends on how far you want to go, so it doesn't necessarily follow that 'straight up' is easiest.

I just checked a few other segments and found on a 20% hill i was getting a VAM of 1051, but it was only 95m of ascent and I wouldn't have been able to keep that pace for long, so there's definitely a balance of efficiency to be had. In fact on another hill of 19% over 195m I was already dropping off to 920.

As you say it's down to fitness but even the best are going to tail off with constant climbing.


parkovski - on 25 May 2013
In reply to yorkshireman:

Thought we were talking about how easy it is to gain height at different gradients? Steep slopes only slow your upward progress when you start having to use your arms. On my bg I was able to ascend yewbarrow (a 40% slope) at 17m per minute despite having been running for 14 hours already. If this was a 6% slope I would have to be running 5 minute miles to match this.
Al Evans on 25 May 2013
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> (In reply to Marek)
> [...]
>
> I agree. However, you're training, there becomes a point when you will make better progress with the same heart rate by walking. It's difficult on a forum to visualise what the OP terms as a 'hill'. Personally, you can run up any hill, mountains have to be walked up.

I did several years of fell racing, and there were certain races that I 'knew' that even really good lads had sections that even they would have to walk up. One season I had a broken leg so I became a spectator/ support for my wife. I was astounded that Kenny Stuart and John Wild were actually running the sections I was sure nobody ran. I saw several amazing things that year, for instance Kenny taking off about 10ft before the wall and clearing it near the end of the Grasmere race, not another single competitor jumped the wall (it's about 6ft high), everybody else used the stile. He gained at least 50ft by this manouvere.

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