We’re always being asked for advice on how to approach training for a Skyrun. So naturally, we asked some of the big guns for their top tips for preparing to tackle big mountains!
4 Peaks Winner/Buffalo Stampede 42k Podium
Invest in some good (La Sportiva) trail shoes. Start to build up your weekly vert, ideally by adding more hills into your long run. Try to find some steeper, more technical trails to practise on. Getting used to running efficiently on technical terrain will help massively come race day. Incorporate hills reps into your routine, they’ll help build strength and fitness quickly. Most importantly, have fun.
Team ANZ – 2016 Skyrunning World Championships
Practice fast walking like power hiking, don’t just focus on running. Make sure you know the course and check your event and see if it has lots of steep hills or steps so know what to focus on in training. If your race has a lot of steps then doing some step-ups and lunges is a good way to help your training. Test your gear and make sure you have all your mandatory gear. Some races you may only need a drink bottle and others you may need a full race kit like thermal top, raincoat ect. Practice your nutrition in your training runs to find out what works for you, this is a very important part and you don’t want any nasty surprises on the day. Enjoy the scenery, many of these events are full of beautiful scenery.
2 x Winner Razorback Run
Don’t forget to practice descending hills. It’s just as important as ascending. Your legs will thank you.
Winner Buffalo Stampede Skysprint
With shorter races the temptation is to go hard early. Make sure you learn your threshold through training to know what pace you can maintain on the steep climbs. Work out the best rhythm/technique for you when climbing, e.g. running or power hiking, or a combination of both. For races with multiple up/down sections practice hard downhill efforts followed by uphill efforts.
Team ANZ – 2018 Skyrunning World Championship
VK races are fantastic, all the elevation gains, maximum adrenalin rush, and good for the time-poor athlete. Planning your training around interval work, stairs, and cross training is all effective, and if you love getting out in the hills but don’t have the time to train for the ultras, consider the shorter sky running events. They are not “softer” !
I find the best races are when you hit the “zone”, where you are comfortable being slightly uncomfortable, breathing and in a rhythm, and sitting “just” under your “red line”. This line is different for everyone and you need to do multiple hard extended intervals (6-10mins) to work out where this is… find that feeling early in the race, don’t go over it, but sit there. Rhythm is everything. And a Walking and running combination is ok to achieve this! Always go by feel, as too much focus on HR will freak you out. It may sit a little high!