Red Bull 400

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  • #39325
    Steve B

    Has anyone here done or trained for the Red Bull 400 (link below)?

    I did it last year in about 6:30 or so. I’d like to be under 6 minutes or even 5:30 this year. Last year I was generally fit, but didn’t do a ton of specific training. A lot of cycling for my aerobic base (I suspect my HR was too high much of the time). Didn’t discover UPA site (currently reading the book) until the last few months. Lifelong swimmer turned landlubber in the last few years via nordic skiing and cycling.

    Thinking a lot of Z2 work as suggested in the book, plenty of ME (non existent last year…tried some weighted hill walks, but I don’t think I did them correctly) and adding tabata’s. Last year my max HR during the event was 197, and my HR was between 185-197 the entire race.


  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #39339

    Hi Steve,

    I haven’t done a RB400 but they look rad… My background is in Nordic ski sprint racing, which involves a 3-5min effort done several times over the course of a morning, not terribly dissimilar to the 400. Scott Johnston coached me through my whole career so the training we did then aligns directly with what you’ll find in the UA books.

    These events are very aerobic in that they require a high endurance base, but still require a very strong anaerobic capacity and muscular endurance to sustain the required high output. You’re spot-on to be prioritizing a lot of Z2 work as a foundation for the objective.

    Other than the early base period I wouldn’t do too much weighted uphill work because it quickly becomes quite non-specific given the added pack weight and the necessarily slow speed at which you’re moving (as compared to race pace).

    Running economy is quite important – you have a (albeit short) start in the race wherein you want to be able to run very fast to gain position for the climb itself. Then when you’re moving on the actual climb you need to be able to turn over a fast cadence (even in a hiking mode), something which is best trained first on gradual terrain then moving up in steepness as you get stronger and closer to the event. Think short (10-12sec) strides during an aerobic run, hill sprints on a short, steep climb, and similar.

    As you progress the training, moving to more specific duration intensity will be valuable – think about how you can take the target duration and speed and break it into chunks – those are your intervals. Train that race speed in short bursts and gradually decrease the rest over time, such that you move closer and closer to the full event as you approach it on the calendar. Again, balancing this type of training with a big aerobic volume is critical.

    Keeping the gym-based ME in the schedule is a great way to support the strength demand without incurring a global fatigue on the body.

    Sounds like a great objective to train for – good luck!


    Steve B on #39349


    Thank you for the response. You’ve given me some great things to think about and add/edit my training. I’m running a half marathon at the end of March, then full bore for RB4. this year, it’s May 30 in Park City. Sign ups aren’t open yet…hopefully soon.

    I’ve noticed since reading the book and rediscovering this way of training (like I said, no stranger to long aerobic training – I was/am a distance swimmer thru college), things have gotten “easier” and simpler. Build aerobic base, 1-2 intense workouts per week. I’m not a runner but due to shoulder surgery it’s something I can do in the meantime. My pace in Z1-2 has dropped already with good adherence to UPA style training. In the past (swimming days) I have responded very well to high volume, low intensity training. I’m glad to know it can carry over to much shorter, more intense efforts like RB4.


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