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Other/Mixed Vertical kilometer trail running

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

Paotle

Level 4 Valued Member
Hi everybody,
I'm training for VK (vertical kilometer) or short intense trail races. For those who don't know VK it's an uphill mountain running race, which ascends approximately 1000 metres while covering a distance of no more than 5km. Some races are less than 2km long for 1000m elevation. So it's about average 55% gradient, but most races between 35-50% . Needless to say that even the elite runner don't "run" the entire race but do more power hiking (with or without poles). The world record is less than 29 minutes. The effort is mainly maintained around anaerobic threshold (around 85-90 % MaxHR).

I absolutely know that aerobic base is vital for such an effort. So is muscular endurance. I read Training for the Uphill athlete by Steve House and Scott Johnston and I absolutely agree with these 2 parts. My training plan is periodized but is mainly oriented to Z1/2 training (so mainly sub aerobic threshold) with an average elevation gain of 2000-4000m (6500-13000 feet) weekly and 40 km run (not to be compared with flat runs). Once a week a do a flat run for recovery. I do some hill sprints and more intense session once a week (10x1-3 minutes with 2 minutes recovery at 95% MHR, or 10x 30/30s all-out) . I know Strongfirst isn't defending too much lactic/glycolytic work, but for training for such races it's almost inevitable, no?

My question here is more about strength training. Do I continue some A+A? How would train for such an intense race?

Best,
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
I would follow exactly what is recommended by Steve and Scott. (Especially if you want to be competitive)

These guys train (and are) world class athletes in the VK and similar events.

Success leaves tracks... follow them...

Some amount of A+A type training would be consistent with the VK, but you need to decide what your VK goals are
 

Paotle

Level 4 Valued Member
Thanks for your answer. My VK goal is to reach my own genetic limits using the best methods. So try to improve relative to myself. I would like to do some short but steep mountain runs (30km, 2500m elevation).
I see some differences on how to build muscular endurance (i.e. to create mitochondria on FT fibers). Steve and Scott insist on glycolytic work, but Verkhoshansky (and Pavel who follows his teaching) are inclined to promote pure anaerobic work to enhance FT muscular endurance.

Best,
 

Coyote

Level 5 Valued Member
For this particular pursuit I would lean heavily on the uphill athlete guys. This is the sea that they swim in.

Pavel is a genius, but this is not his area of expertise. I think most anyone would tell you that to get good at running uphill, ya gotta run uphill.

Just dont over do it.

I think we all worry about "perfect" training, and there isn't one. Arrive at the race healthy.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Thanks for your answer. My VK goal is to reach my own genetic limits using the best methods. So try to improve relative to myself. I would like to do some short but steep mountain runs (30km, 2500m elevation).
I see some differences on how to build muscular endurance (i.e. to create mitochondria on FT fibers). Steve and Scott insist on glycolytic work, but Verkhoshansky (and Pavel who follows his teaching) are inclined to promote pure anaerobic work to enhance FT muscular endurance.

Best,
Well... I believe Scott learned a lot from Verkhoshansky about muscular endurance and adapted that to the mountain athlete.
You really just need to look at their results for the direction to take...
 

Coyote

Level 5 Valued Member
Honestly, I had not heard of Verkhoshansky. Its sure to give me another rabbit hole to go down.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
@Paotle, we have a guy named Andy on @Al Ciampa's forum that is using A+A for his training in similar vertical/ultra type events. I tagged him over there to see if he'd drop you some advice here.
 

vegpedlr

Level 6 Valued Member
I recall writing, ETK, I think, that his programs are GPP. And that regular folk have no business trying to program sport specific training, best to get a coach for that. Not that has ever stopped me, but I digress. The WTH effect has limits.

Lacking a coach, go to the experts, which in this case is Uphill Athlete.
 

UltraKB

Level 4 Valued Member
Thanks for pointing this out @Anna C and @Al Ciampa .

The VK is very different than the events I do (longer ultras, up to 100 milers with lots of vert!) but I think the training to get stronger is the same. Keep in mind that I do think there is a difference between wanting to be an elite in these events vs. surviving and being able to walk at work the next day. I'm in the latter category. I take pride in ultras being my "secret life" that most people at work don't know about (so I can't blow my cover by hobbling!)

To finally get to my answer, it's not very interesting or long-winded, but it works:
Lots of A+A work. Lots of easy running / trail time (usually nasal breathing). Short periods of peaking.

To expand a bit further:
A+A - I've worked my way up from S&S, to A+A snatching with the 24 kg, to the 28 kg and now the 32 kg. Usually averaging 2-3 sessions per week. Average of 60 NR per week for snatches but up to 80-100 NR a few weeks. The humidity (sore hands) and running volume seem to lead to this being waved naturally as well.

Trail time - lots of slow trails. My vertical load waves from 1000 m per week up to 4500 m per week at peaking times. I usually keep an eye on four weeks at a time and gradually try to increase the 4 week average over time.

Peaking - I don't do much of this actually since my events are slow. But I do know lots of people who are quite competitive at VK events and the key seems to be doing specific VK training for a few weeks before the event, gradually trying to get faster and then tapering for a week or two.

Other than that, as others have said, if you are in the elite category for VKs, I'd still with the Uphill Athlete guys as they know their stuff. I've just learned as I've gotten older that there is a difference between training to win, and training to finish uninjured.

Hope that helps, fire me a message if you want anything more specific.

Andy
 

Paotle

Level 4 Valued Member
Thanks for your detailed and informative answer @UltraKB. You're right, there is a big difference between being part of the elite and just trying to survive.
Best,
 
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