If you've been running endurance races for a while and are looking for a new challenge, you may want to check out one of the latest crazes- the Vertical Marathon. Vertical Marathons require you to run up many flights of stairs in a high rise building, and Singapore has two popular ones: the Swissotel Vertical Marathon, where over 2,000 participants ascend up 73 storeys, and the National Vertical Marathon in May, which is 63 storeys high. Wondering how to train for such a feat?
Q: Diana writes, "I'll be attempting the vertical marathon. Beside my usual running, squats and lunges, what other areas should I focus on before the race?
A: Diana, you are on the right track with squats and lunges, but to keep your muscles interested, mix these up by adding weight as well as trying out different variations of each, like alternating prisoner lunges and sumo squats. You'll also benefit from plyometric exercises like box jumps, narrow high jumps and jumping lunges, which can help increase your running speed, improve your endurance and build muscular power in your legs. Static exercises like wall sits, low squat holds and chair pose will strengthen your quadriceps and glutes as well, and on race day, you'll find that extra strength to be vital as you propel yourself up to the top.
Speed is another component you'll want to focus on. Aside from regular running, definitely aim to add in Fartlek Drills. These are informal speed workouts where you switch up the intensity during your runs, like adding in 20-40 second sprints. You'll also want to incorporate some hill sprints, stairwell runs, and high knee runs into your training program. One of the tools I like to use for this type of training is Stroops, which can help with developing more explosiveness and power.
Finally, pay close attention to your core. Strong core muscles will keep the trunk and pelvis stable, and therefore reduce load on the knees. So, take 10-15 minutes three times a week to concentrate on building core strength through exercises like planks, cable crunches, lying leg raises, reverse crunches and Russian Twists.
Diana, you’ve got about 3 months to prepare for your Vertical Marathon which gives enough time to ensure that you’re ready for a fantastic finish. I wish you all the best in your training and your race- you’re going to do great!
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