Vertical – any rule of thumb?

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  • #8367
    Christian Borgbo

    Hi all,

    I am currently preparing for a mountain race that involves a substantial amount of vertical gain and loss – approx. 6.700 meters (mostly quite technical) in 70 km. I am using Luke’s 20-week training plan as a guideline for my progression and mileage.

    I was wondering how you go about deciding how much vertical you are aiming for on a weekly basis and how that progresses leading up to a given event? Is there any rule of thumb when targeting specific events or projects where you know how much vertical ground you have to cover?

    Thanks in advance.

Posted In: Mountain Running

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    Anonymous on #8369


    You have to be cautious when progressing vertical and distance at the same time. But you can use. Here are recommendations from a forth coming book Steve and I are doing with Kilian Jornet:

    Suggestions for Progressing Weekly Vertical:
    • Do not increase overall vertical in a week by more than 200 meters for each day you ski, run or hike in that week: If you do 5 days of aerobic training then you can probably safely add 1000m that week
    • OR keep the vertical increases under 10% from week to week.
    • Do not increase vertical by 10% for more than 3 weeks in a row.
    • When adding intensity in later weeks keep the weekly vertical increases less than 5%
    • Do not make large weekly vertical increases of greater than 15% for two weeks in a row.
    • Follow large increases in weekly vertical (more than 15%) or intensity with a recovery week to allow your body to adapt.

    Plan to do the event’s full vertical over the course of one week 3-4 weeks out from the event date. But use this progression to build that vertical rationally. Depending on where you are currently with your weekly vertical to hit 6700m you may need to start many months out to build to that volume.


    Christian Borgbo on #8415

    Thank you Scott. This was exactly what I was looking for. I appreciate you taking the time to share, not only this, but all the information in these forums. I learn something new every time I read something here. I can’t wait for your new book with Kilian J.

    My event is in October so I have quite some time to work with. Will try to follow your progression guidelines and see where it takes me. THANKS!


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