Balancing Muscular Endurance & Strength/Stability

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  • #64438
    Nathaniel Gehring

    Good morning all,

    After an unsuccessful attempt at Ouray 100 last year, I’ve reregistered and been training for another attempt at Ouray 100 this year. I’m a Florida based runner, so training for a race with 43,000 feet up and down is a particular challenge. Though I wasn’t taken out by climbing or descending last year, but what I believe to be exercise induced asthma from the hard efforts in the cool, dry air. Something my humidity and heat accustomed lungs were not ready for.

    Last year I had used the at-home muscular endurance workout ( for several months before the race once per week. And I arrived at Ouray 100 able to climb well, and able to descend sufficiently enough. But this year I want to arrive even fitter with deeper aerobic base and more strength, hopefully reducing the cardiovascular effort while climbing.

    I jumped back into the muscular endurance workouts by September of last year, and had continued them regularly until I entered a marathon pacing season. I was concerned I’d be taking on too much muscular damage with no time to recover with a marathon to pace monthly. So, I stopped those ME workouts entirely.

    But now I’m returning to fully dedicated Ouray 100 training. Initially, I had intended on doing the muscular endurance workout twice per week. However, in January I began using the Chamonix Fit program and have found it extremely valuable. I’m blown away by how bad my stability and balance were initially, and even more so by how much they’ve improved in a short period of time. And I’m left wondering how to properly structure training incorporating both the ChamFit workout and the ME workout?

    My current thinking is ChamFit (level 2, at the moment) on Tuesday afternoons after an easy morning bridge run and a mid day weighted treadmill hike; ME at-home workout Thursday afternoons after an easy morning run and mid day incline treadmill hike; ChamFit Lite on Sundays after a morning long run or long incline treadmill hike. While I think this makes sense, I worry that I’m not getting as much muscular endurance work as I’d like to really immunize my legs from the pounding of the downhills I’m going to face.

    So, I’m struggling with balancing the ME workouts and the strength/stability work. I’d appreciate any thoughts on my current thinking and any alternative approaches.

    To not leave anything out that might prove beneficial to anyone willing to offer thoughts (though definitely makes this way too long a post), my full weekly training plan is roughly:

    – Monday AM: easy recovery run or rest; Monday PM: relaxed 10k run with strides
    – Tuesday AM: relaxed 10k with bridges; Tuesday mid: weighted vest treadmill hike (incline soon); Tuesday PM: ChamFit
    – Wednesday AM: rest or recovery 5k jog; Wednesday PM: fast walk practice either on trails or with bridge repeats
    – Thursday AM: relaxed 10k social run; Thursday Mid: incline treadmill hike; Thursday PM: at home ME workout
    – Friday PM: easy 4 miles or rest
    – Saturday: 90 minutes relaxed trail run
    – Sunday AM: alternating weeks of either 35KM run at 90 seconds or more slower than marathon pace, and 3-4 hours weighted vest treadmill incline hike; Sunday PM: ChamFit Lite

    Thanks so much for any thoughts.



Posted In: Mountain Running

  • Participant
    Mark on #64506

    Hi Nathan,

    I’m not a coach, so I won’t go into too much detail into all the aspects of your plan. I also haven’t attempted a run of this magnitude either so kudos to you!

    My understanding of the ME workouts is that they should be utilised on top of a strong layer of aerobic base fitness, so these are something that tend to be incorporated after you have developed your aerobic base. The plans in the UA catalogue that use these workouts tend to expect minimum levels of aerobic fitness in order to utilise them effectively and make the most out of them.

    Secondly, doing a run and a hike on the same day of the ME workout seems like (a) far too much volume and (b) the muscular fatigue you will have going into the ME workout will limit how much you get out of it. I have generally found for myself that doing the ME workout and then a recovery run later in the day works best, and even, my legs are usually blasted for a couple of days after.

    Thirdly, doing the ME workouts and the ChamFit workouts is not something I have personally experienced before (and I would be interested to hear from other uphill athletes who have) but I suspect that the ChamFit workouts are probably a helpful precursor to the ME workouts to improve your stability and balance. So you might want to consider using the ChamFit workouts as part of your base training to then build up to doing the ME workouts and setting aside sufficient time to make the most of them.

    I hope these ramblings are helpful and best of luck!


    Mariner_9 on #64508

    Hi Nathaniel,

    I used to do balance/stability training separately from my strength training. It didn’t leave me tired or sore (unlike strength or ME workouts). Might be worth considering if you want to improve your stability but don’t want to add significant training load.

    In case relevant:
    – I was (and am) training for splitboarding and hiking
    – When I was doing the balance exercises, I was living in the flatlands at the time and my training (e.g. stair climbs, running) was all on very stable and predictable surfaces
    – I now live in the mountains and feel I get sufficient balance/stability work from training outdoors
    – I got some ideas for balance exercises from a PT who was a keen slackliner


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