Free speed is the idea that there is a lot to be gained by improvements in attitude and technique. People often gloss over those areas because they’re not as gratifying as getting destroyed in a workout.
Coach Scott Semple and Uphill Athlete co-founder Scott Johnston will dive into what works, and what doesn’t.
This was originally recorded on May 21, 2020.

Here are some examples of Free Speed:
  • Attitude toward training: Don’t waste time chasing magic bullets and lottery-ticket temptations. Attempted shortcuts are just wasted detours.
  • Cutting a skimo race time from 3h00m to 2h40m demands an 11% increase in fitness. Or the racer could just practice their transitions, cutting them each from minutes to seconds.
  • Single-day speed attempts fail the second the backpack comes off. Everything you need for the day should be easily accessible while on the move so you never stop until you finish.
  • The first time Scott Semple climbed Devil’s Tower, it was with a group of eight and took 12 hours. The second time, it was with his Dad, and it was Dad’s third time climbing. They did it in three. They weren’t moving faster, they just didn’t waste time.
As Scott Semple says: “I’ve rarely been the fastest or strongest in my cohort, but I’ve often been the most type-A!”


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