Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stair Race Training

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 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!

Recent Training

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!


Lori said...

I can't wait to see how you do this year! Go Louis! ;)

Kerri said...

Thanks for your blog it is very insightful. Can you help a newby to prep for my first stair event 103 floors coming up in November. I use a 13 floor building 3x'S a week, acsend skipping every other tread @ a moderate pace 10x's, elevator recovery. Thats it no sprints, no weights. I have roughly 3 weeks from Sunday till then & want to better than average, eventually Id like to contend with the elite athletes eventually. For this one I believe my lungs and legs need some serious power-up drills, and then because I have no, tips, tips, from music,diet, tapper off(when,how long) or plow through right up to the race? Race implys speed um, not sure thats a reality either but simply finshing will be a defeat to me honestly. I too plan on a local Tower Up event in March so I would love to follow your blog. When is your race? Good Luck!

Kerri said...

Ha! NVM 2008! Where did you go?