Every year I race in the American Lung Association's Tackle the Tower. With only 31 floors, the race is a sprint to the top! And I have a stiff record of continually beating my previous year's performance...so preparing I must do.
As I stated above, this is a speed event. Training must be specific. While climbing 100+ floors at a moderate pace in training might yield some results, there are better training techniques. A 200M sprinter wouldn't gain much benefit from running 6 miles in preparation, would he? For high intensity sprint events, interval training is the key.
Interval training for stair climbing requires spurts of peak output balanced with recovery (rest) periods. I have two indoor staircases for training: 4 stories and 18 stories. Each presents a different approach to training since the work-rest ratios are different. In the 4 story tower, I can only sprint up 4 stories at a time before having to climb down. In the 18 story building, I can adjust the intervals to include any number of floors up to 18...such as 10, 15, or 18 for example. I can also take an elevator down to decrease the recovery time. So why use the 4-story tower at all? Because it's easier to get into based on hours!
I began intermingling stair training into the Prison Workout #2. I will maintain my strategy of working through the alphabetic-labeled workouts, but slow down the schedule to specialize in stair training. For example, I am cutting back to 2-4 PWOs per week at the expense of doing 1-2 stair sessions per week.
Yesterday at the 4-story tower I did: Wearing a 50lb weighted vest, 3 rounds of:
- climb up using every stair
- climb up using every other stair
- climb up backwards
- climb up carrying two 35lb sandbags (briefcase-style)
This workout was fantastic. I had been using sandbags and firehose packs for my previous years' training, but now going to use the adjustable Weight Vest for some sessions too. I think I'll use the added weight for the 4-story location, and bodyweight-only at the 18-story building (to allow for speed). I'll have to check progress along the way. Since the race is bodyweight-only, I must be sure I am reaching maximum SPEED UP and maintaining it for 5 minutes!
Again, if you are training for an event, be sure you are training SPECIFIC to that event. General Physical Preparedness (GPP) will probably not maximize your potential!