Bouldering – Mountain Running Friend or Foe??!?

  • Creator
  • #64774

    Aye Aye folks

    How many people use or would recommend Bouldering at your local climbing gym as a strength activity to supplement your running training?

    I am training for several mountain/sky/hill races for the year ahead. Lots of technical terrain, at various low and high altitudes, with lots of scrambling and rocky terrain. I have been advised from some friends who are runners and climbers that this is an excellent tool for improving mountain movement and allover body conditioning.

    Since December 2021 I have became HOOKED on bouldering – the challenge, the problems, the satisfaction after a big session…. it is keeping my training varied and I cannot wait to get out for some big technical mountain days here in Scotland to put all the winter strength work to the test now the weather is improving.

    Please note the sessions I am now doing are endurance focused, so have built up to 8 – 10 rounds by 6mins on, with 3mins rest per set. This consists of rainbowing around the features and holds. My main goal is always running so this is always a fun supplement, but now I am starting to think that it may actually be beneficial to moving over technical terrain and surely the allover body conditioning is stopping me from getting injured for the longest time now! I guess I cam report back when I put it to the test over the next few weeks.

    Any thoughts folks are super welcome 🙂


Posted In: Mountain Running

  • Participant
    nickdhulster on #64808

    I’m coming from a different stand point as I mostly am a climber who has started running and skimo training this season. If I use bouldering for strength training I keep that discipline of climbing at about 30-40% of my overall climbing training. I use the (rainbowing) as you put it as ARCing on easier terrain for 20-30 min loops with 5 mins rest for base building. The actual strength training of bouldering is hard 5-10 move powerful problems, with a lot of rest in between. If I’m going to do long harder loops or 4x4s on powerful problems that is happening at the end of my training season strictly for power endurance, kind of like interval training in running.

    All that being said if your not really training for climbing and just want to pull hard and get movement skills you’re probably fine. I would only recommend if you split the longer bouldering loops into ARCing (easier very mild pumpy climbing) for 5-10 min loops and then keep the hard climbing to shorter more powerful problems you may see better results. The easier loops will improve your technique because the sheer volume and the shorter hard problems will actually test your fingers and muscles.

    My power in climbing has certainly suffered from all the running but my technique is still pretty good and I feel fresh after a 2 hour climbing session between running and skiing.

    Hope this is helpful! Enjoy the spring.

    robsinco on #65759

    Yo Nick,

    Thanks for the reply and apologies for my delayed response…

    I went to the local climbing gym and tried to execute what you suggested with the ARCing and 4x4s, and it made for a much more varied session, and really pushed me to try some actual problems instead of just rainbowing all over the shop!

    At current time I have covid, so hopefully back to wall next week to week. I think If I was better I would use the power endurance end to periodise this my pre-race phase, however like you say I am after allover conditioning and if I am climbing x2 times per week max to supplement then mixing the aerobic + power work in one session may be best bang for buck.

    Hope your training is going well pal as we head into Spring 🙂

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