Vertical running is one of the best, and quickest ways, to improve your cardio endurance. In fact, a ten-minute session of vertical running is equivalent to around an hour of flat level, steady running. It maybe a challenge but it’s definitely worth it! So if you’re new to vertical-running, or have done it before, our training tips will help you make your race more enjoyable and we will follow up with more help and advice as we head towards race day.
You don’t need to buy any special equipment for vertical running. It will get hot on the stairs on race day so we advise wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Normal running trainers should suffice.
A proper warm up should increase your heart rate, speed up your breathing and warm the muscles. Dynamic stretching before a workout involves controlled movement of major muscle groups - aim for five minutes of leg lifts, hip swings, leg lunges and kicks.
To launch you up those stairs you need strong powerful springs. Focus some time in your training to strengthening thighs (quads) and glutes. Squats, lunges and step-ups are great and if you’ve access to a gym the leg press will be an essential piece of equipment. Multiple repetitions (three sets of 20) with a lightweight will best mirror the challenge you will face. Hops, jumps, and drills will also help develop the concentric strength or spring needed to bounce up the SSE Hydro.
You need a good aerobic engine for tower-running, so maintain a routine of running as well as your additional stair workouts. However, if you want to fly up the tower you need to replicate the demands of the event. So seek out stairs you can safely train on, or alternatively a steep hill or good quality treadmill will suffice.
At some stage on your way to the top your legs are going to be burning, so you need to be accustomed to running with lactic acid building in your legs. Running some hill sprints or high intensity intervals on the flat with be vital in preparing your body to deal with this. The greater your tolerance of lactic is through training, the better. Spinning classes, particularly those using high resistance, can be great for this while also building essential thigh strength. Or use your own bike on an uphill gradient, alternate sitting in and out of the saddle, and aim for 10 repetitions of 60-second bursts.
Top vertical-runners regularly hone their technique. The fastest method is to take two steps at a time, although it’s tough work. Think about your ‘racing line’ too, taking the shortest route to the top by taking corners sharply and hugging the handrail. Runners also use their arms effectively, taking some of the load of the legs. Use the ‘rope climbing’ technique using both arms alternately to pull along the handrail. Practicing this beforehand or doing some high intensity workouts on the rowing machine will be beneficial.
Ideally you should feel light, fresh and raring to go. A light meal a few hours before should suffice. Have a good warm up, including a little bit of moderate high intensity work. Your body should be a little bit prepared for the shock to come! Try and start off conservatively; the best stair runners time their runs to perfection, saving their push till the final third.