Check this forum discussion on vertical training –
Scott’s response will likely answer your questions.
I did some VKs and the fact is that even the world’s bests aren’t really running, they are speed-hiking (hand on knees or with poles). The biomechanics are very different from other trail running races (stride, but also muscle recruitement).
My question is twofold:
-Is it necessary to run on rolling terrain to perform in this sport? Isn’t hiking on steep hills (over 30%) better as aerobic “base” training?
-I read TFNA and TFUA, the strength training is different between the two (more traditionnal max strength oriented in TFNA than in TFUA). For the VK, wouldn’t max strength (before adding ME) be more important than for other trail running? In TFUA program, there is only 1 strength session with weight. Does it makes sense to add another weight training session for VK training?
Posted In: Mountain Running
Sorry for the delay.
In addition to what Shashi said, I believe that the strength protocols in TftUA were modified to accommodate what most people would do rather than what’s ideal. (It’s hard to get outdoor athletes in the gym…)
I’ll ask Scott J. to comment.
These are very good questions. Here is the back story as to why you don’t see much about it here.
When writing the book Training for the Uphill Athlete Kilian and I discussed including VK specific training. His feeling was that not enough people specialized in VKs for us to go into detail about training for that event.
Hiking on very steep terrain is certainly more specific that running on flatter trails. However, doing every workout on steep hills, where there is a big muscular loading in the legs is very likely, even if you keep the HR low, to lead to overtraining. I would limit steep hills to 1-2 days/week and do much of your other training in Z1 on less hilly trails. In the early season those 2 days will be done in Z1-2 and later they will progress to Z3-4.
As for strength training: As Scott Semple said, these strength training protocols in both books are not the only way to train for strength for these events. We wanted to present a simple approach that almost anyone could use. You’re right that VKs look more like mountaineering when it comes to the strength portion of the training. So a solid Max strength period will set yo up well for moving to a ME phase. That ME can be done on hills like Kilian does or in a gym stepping up high many times.
I hope this helps