FRACTEL Virtual Series 2.0
Event 3: Altitude
We've teamed up with elite athlete Scotty Hawker @scotty_hawker to offer some expert advice on introducing some extra vertical meters into your running. Whether you're planning on taking the rolling hills route during your weekday commute or banking some serious elevation in the mountains, incorporating correct form and patience are critical in order to progress well.
1. Start with short form focused reps, an easy run with 5-10x30sec hills added towards the
end of the run is a great way to focus on your form while developing your running economy.
2. EASY downhills to begin… adding in sessions with moderate-hard uphills and then a harder downhill is a lot of stress on your Muscular-skeletal system so go easy on the downhills, using them as active recovery and then also add a short 30-45sec walk/jog recovery at the bottom before the next rep. Concentrate on fast feet & dancing your way down.
3. Stay relaxed while climbing and descending. Easy to say, harder to do… especially as trails get more technical. You can focus on your form/ relaxing etc on any run you do on the
trails… it doesn’t need to be a specific hill rep session. You can add in a form focus to any run you’re doing that has hills. The more relaxed you are the smoother you’ll climb and descend.
4. Get comfortable alternating between run/hike/run etc. The more you practice this the
smoother it will become. Another benefit to lots of practice is the stronger mentally you’ll
become and you’ll find yourself being able to take advantage of sections in the race where
you can run that in the past you might have stayed walking or hiking. All of these moments
in races add up to a lot of time overall so you will get yourself to the finish line sooner.
5. Make sure you gradually increase vert in your long runs. Eventually you want to build to long runs that can somewhat replicate race day. An example could be the UTA50km which has approx.. 2400m+ vertical gain. So that’s an average of 480m+ per 10km of trails. So in
training you want to slowly build up to long runs where you gain this amount. E.g a 30km
long run would aim to have 1,440m+ vert gain as a guide. Some long runs might have a little more and some a little less but this is a good guideline.
6. Think about driving forward from your hips on the runnable uphills. Almost like someone has a piece of rope attached to your belt loops on your pants and is helping pull you up. It’ll feel strange at first but as this becomes smoother you’ll find yourself climbing smooth and more efficiently.
7. If you are likely to be hiking a lot of the uphills in your race then it could be worth
considering using hiking/running poles. Make sure you practice with these plenty in training
(the more the better) so your upper body can have a chance to gain the conditioning it
needs to be able to use the poles efficiently throughout the duration of the race. Play
around with pole placement, angles and motions so you get a feel for what technique works best on a particular incline/ terrain as no one type of technique fits all situations.