Uphill and downhill training
14 April 2020

Uphill and downhill training

Skyrunning is nothing like street running, and anyone who has done it knows how much muscles it takes to go uphill and how much your knees will suffer going downhill.

In this blog post you can read more about how Snezana specifically is training for the uphills and for the downhills…

Blog by Snezana Djuric, Arduua Frontrunner

and a continuation of the story…

A childhood on the mountain

Uphill and downhill training.

Up and down, up and down…

Someone would say it’s easy, simple, sounds like that. But … of course not, it must be read between the lines :D, more precisely between the hills!

Anyone who has run the trail knows how much muscle they do when going uphill, how much their knees suffer when going downhill, and how much their legs can block when going uphill again :D. Because of this, training must be done on such terrain, strength training is required, and recovery is very important.

When I started, of course I didn’t know anything about running technique. Very little … First, I had to learn when going uphill to keep my step shorter. My step was a long one, and it consumed my strength further. And on the other side, honestly, I had a fear of going downhill very fast. It depends more on the terrain. Then they began to teach me that there was a technique for downhill climbs. My coach here in Serbia is going very fast on the slopes! I can’t follow him, no way :D.

In one race, I fell very badly and hurt my whole leg, and I continued so bloody to the finish … you can see it in the photo …. My coach’s saying was, “You can’t race a trail and ride an mountain bike without ever crashing :D!”

Hillside technique in the training

And so I started doing a lot more work on the hillside technique … it was stressful, and painful, and interesting, and everything!

Now, what bothered me the most about racing was the transition from downhill to uphill immediately. My legs fill upon downhill, and then if I have to go uphill right away … it didn’t work out the best.

In the beginning, I did some training on the shorter hills, after which comes a straight stretch where you can run faster. I needed to feel and train that transition from the hill where it goes slower to the part where it can go faster.

After that I did training for example, 4 minutes uphill and then slightly downhill. That was difficult for me, honestly. Sometimes it seems more difficult for me to go downhill rather than uphill :D.

Then came training sessions like this … A gentle uphill slope where the surface is hard and level. 7 times 2000m but 500 meters up 500 down, 500 up 500 down. Quick. All. That was unconscious! At third, I thought I couldn’t do it anymore. But I did, I finished all 7, I lay down for a while afterwards to get to myself, but the feeling after that was amazing! J

An example of training is one lap we have in the forest, 300m is straight, then a strong uphill 150 meters, then a slight downhill 200m and then another 100 slightly higher downhill. It is very good training. I like it very much!

I applied it all to racing and to the point, I was better at those parts that were a weak spot in my running.

Then, in one race, I noticed something else. When a long hill is encountered, for example, 5-6 kilometres where it can run all the time and not walk. I run 2 kilometres, so I have to walk a little, then I run again, so I have to walk a little…And then I realized that I also needed to train and fixed it. Then the training sessions started with the ups and downs, first gentle and shorter, and then longer.

We have one mountain near our town where there are excellent training hills. Uphill 3 kilometres with a steep climb. I did training, warming up 2km of flat terrain and then from the beginning of the uphill to the end and down. And all this 3 times. It means up and down all the time. That means taking your legs off :)))! The 2 kilometres to the car after this then take too long …

And so, many different trainings … Trail tracks are always different, different climbs, slopes, terrains, distance … You know for yourself that it is not the same to run uphill when the track is paved and when there are rocks. And because of that, we have to do so many different training sessions. We all have weak points, and we need to work on them. But we certainly rely mostly on our strengths ?. Someone goes incredibly fast uphill, someone downhill flies. Someone is keeping downhill so the uphill can go really hard … In any case, at the end, understand that everything has to be practiced :D. Smile at the and is the most important.

So yeah …. enjoy the mountains as much as possible!

/Snezana Djuric, Arduua Frontrunner

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