LGN Vertical Rush training tips in partnership with Back in Action UK
Vertical Rush is a fantastic physical challenge and one that beautifully uses functional everyday fitness and puts it into a competitive arena. LGN’s corporate Run Clubs train clients for tower races like Vertical Rush by preparing them physically & mentally for the challenge.
A key training aspect is getting used to over-loading your legs muscles as stair racing requires endurance of your quad muscles working in a concentric manner and not the eccentric way they work mainly for running. If you are a regular runner your fitness will have you well placed for this challenge but you are unlikely to be a tower running natural without specific concentric lower limb training and the intense cardio vascular requirement of stair racing deserves attention, last year the first 400 ran Vertical Rush in under 8 minutes, which requires heart pumping & lung bursting fitness.
The team at LGN have pulled together our top training tips & suggest competitors aim to build up progressively and do at least three sessions per week in your lead up to your Vertical Rush challenge.
Stairway to concentric strength heaven:
Use stairs or steep (25%) gradient hill for 30sec explosive repetitions. Start with 2 sets of 5 efforts using 5min recovery between sets & each week add another rep until 2 x 10, 3 x 5 and gradually reduce recovery between sets by 30 sec.
Key technique tip is dynamic use of your arms to drive legs, focus on keeping shoulders relaxed and driving arms parallel to your body.
LGN’s 20 second turn-around joy:
Hit your local park, find a spot which we will call ‘Point A’ (tree, park bench etc) and then run 20 seconds at 75% maximum (running for a bus speed), then stop & find visual marker to identify ‘Point B’. You now have only 20 seconds recovery before you have to run back to Point A within 20 seconds, at which point you repeat the exercise this time heading for ‘Point B’ once more.
This favourite LGN session uses a short recovery & will quickly put you into oxygen debt, but be patient and fitness gain will come over time. Aim for 2 sets of 8 with 5 mins recovery and be strict with 20sec recovery between each repetition…you will only be cheating yourself!
If you have access to a gym, spinning classes provide superb concentric training for your legs while also developing much needed cardio vascular fitness (take inspiration from fact an ex professional cyclist holds Empire State stair running record). Alternatively use your own bicycle on 60 – 90 sec 15%+ gradient hill, alternating between in & out of saddle. Initially aim for 10 repetitions, free-wheel back down hill & aim to beat previous times.
Sit back and don’t relax:
In addition the seated leg press machine will prove a key training tool in developing stair climbing concentric strength, set weights that aim for endurance based session of 3 x 20 repetitions (20th rep should require maximum effort) and please seek qualified advice if you have not used equipment previously.
Your calf muscles will bear the brunt of this tower training, so very important you gently stretch these (and other muscles) after each session. Again stairs can come in handy as you lower heel over edge of stair until you feel gentle stretch, try to hold for 20 seconds before taking it subtly further. And LGN’s partners at Back in Action UK would be the perfect people to speak to if you wanted further advice – https://www.backinactionuk.com/
On the pull:
Professional Tower Runners use a cunning sling shot technique to navigate each hard stair based turn. Tower 42 stairwell is a left spiral, so find a local stairwell, don a cycle glove on your left hand glove & get practicing.
Good luck up each of the 920 steps from all the team at LGN!
LGN Vertical Rush additional notes:
Such is the popularity of stair races thatGermanyhosts a competition which is the equivalent height of Everest & takes 15 hours for the winner…something to consider when you are racing up ‘just’ 920 stairs!
Geeky eccentric versus concentric training insight:
Eccentric contractions happen when the muscle has to lengthens under tension, so when your running foot strikes the ground the quad muscle must contract in a controlled fashion allowing leg to bend but not let it collapse. This is in sharp contrast to a concentric contraction which involves contraction of a muscle while it shortens. An example would be your leg forcing down against resistance, e.g. a leg press in the gym or pushing a bike pedal, in this instance the quad contracts and shortens to extend the leg and straighten the knee.