REI Community
Running and climbing
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
Page 2 of 2.  <<First   <Prev   1  2
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.

Email me.
Apr 11, 2008
A good topic - turns out lots of us like to climb and run! They are both primal -our bodies naturally want to do these two things, even though the skills required are very different. My thoughts:

  • Like someone else said, the key is simply to "Decide what your goals are".
  • If you want to stay in shape and have fun, forget this high-mileage thing. Jon Sinclair is a better runner now than I ever was, but high-mileage is for the realm of the genetically rare few. The average weekly mileage for the 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers was not this stuff of myth, but was 90.3 (men) and 72.1 (women).
  • Almost all runners will hit a mileage limit beyond which you will get injured, and not be able to run at all (bad!) It will take a minimum of 3-5 years to find your limit.
  • Most elite runners spend, and must spend, a significant amount of time, energy, and money taking care of themselves or being taken care of to maintain their training regime. If you get seriously into running, you will by default get seriously into that aspect of it.
  • Having said all that, at the beginner/intermediate level the easiest/best way to get in shape is to run more. Forget the details, just get your body used to running. I recommend paying attention to time spent running, not distance traveled, and definitely not speed.
  • Ironically, you are less likely to get injured running trails than roads, as your movement varies more and the surface is softer.
  • Running is basically an injury-prevention game. There are 50,000 runners in the world who have the desire and will to train 100+ hard miles per week for the rest of their lives, but can't. They will get hurt. Magazines have all these training plans, which thus are mostly useless; figuring out how not to get hurt is what you need to learn. Running is very simple, but not getting hurt is very complicated, so I recommend paying a lot of attention to the latter.
  • Elite runners are some of the worst overall athletes I've ever seen. No strength, no coordination, no flexibility. But no need to go there, because intermediate runners have a ton of fun, their aerobic conditioning makes them better at every other sport, from skiing to biking, and certainly many types of climbing, and at that level, they might avoid a running injury.
  • Trail races - the gnarlier the better - are the usual choice for climbers rather than pavement, because the plyometrics, strength, and coordination involved cross over to climbing well. And we want to be in the mountains anyway!
Buzz Burrell
From Boulder
Joined Sep 16, 2007
0 points
Apr 11, 2008
Buzz wrote:
A good topic - turns out lots of us like to climb and run! They are both primal -our bodies naturally want to do these two things, even though the skills required are very different.

Nice post, Buzz.
And let me point out- Buzz is what, 50+??? And all I ever get to see of him at a race is his smile at the start, the backs of his heels for the first 3 minutes after the gun, then him warming down when I finish. There is something to his suggestions.
Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Joined Jan 1, 2001
21,695 points
Apr 11, 2008
Running Three days a week does the following for me:

-Lower body fat percentage
-Cardio for long approaches
-Strength for carrying a pack

Without running, I would weigh much more than I do now, and would be so wiped after a long approach, that I wouldnt be able to do the climb (for example the diamond). I just alternate running and climbing days, and rarely combine the two. This allows me to isolate for strength or stamina.
phil wortmann
From Colorado Springs, Co.
Joined Feb 23, 2005
630 points
Dec 4, 2008
From my experiences:
-Running moderately makes me a better climber. Running a lot makes me tired and climb worse, unless it makes me so tired I relax more while climbing and then climb better (personal mental issue while climbing).
-It can be very hard to balance the two, but I think it is possible. I don't know many (any?) climbers who can get by climbing hard every single day, and the same for running. Its weird, but sometimes I think of running or climbing as a rest day, depending on which on I am taking more seriously at a given time.
-The chances are, at some point you will get injured in either sport, or burn out, or end up on a position where one is less convenient than the other. The sport you take more seriously can change from one year or couple of years to the next. I'd go insane when I get injured from running if I couldn't climb, and vice versa. So don't feel like focusing on one or the other now is going to determine the rest of your life.
-Sleep and food are absolutely crucial if you are going to do both. There ares no substitutes for these two things.

Also, don't overdo it. I tried to surf in the mornings before my 10hr a day job, run 2-3hr in the mountains after work, and then I guess to most people its obvious this doesn't work. I had to find out from experience. Forcing myself to do more than I could at a relatively high level (for me, I'm not a great climber) was not worth the prolonged physical and mental stress it caused. Now I've been forced to back off and...its kind of fun again! :) My advice: do some trail races, go climbing, and enjoy them both. See which one takes priority, if either, and go with it...maybe someday it will change maybe not.
Joined Dec 4, 2008
0 points
Dec 4, 2008
Peter Franzen wrote:
Wow, I thought I was the only one who struggled to be both a runner and a climber. Over the past 6 or 7 years I've gone through a cyclical pattern between running and climbing. I'll typically focus on climbing for 6-9 months, then focus on running for 3-6 months, then go back to climbing. When I try to run a lot (4-5 days a week) my climbing really suffers-- I'm a pretty slim build, and I have a hard time keeping muscle mass when I'm in good running shape.


Do you find that after you have made the transition back to climbing that it takes you a while to get back up to your previous level of ability?
Legs Magillicutty
From Littleton
Joined May 28, 2002
395 points
Dec 4, 2008
Jed Pointer wrote:
I've heard recovery drinks such as Endurox can help. I tried it for my first time after a 15 mile run a few days ago and felt notably better than I expected the next day while hiking up some hills, but I also think there might be a placebo effect going on there + sample of one doesn't say much.

I started using Endurox this year after MTB races (got it free from the team sponsor) and also noticed a significant difference in reducing recovery time. I always felt much better the day after if I used the Endurox shortly after the race/ride.

I have used it enough now that I think the effect is real, not placebo.

The Endurox is kinda pricey. I get mine for free, so I just keep using it. But I have seen professional trainers say that other major protein sources also work, such as Ovaltine and skim or low fat milk. So if you are worried about cost, there are alternatives.

FWIW, I think the taste of the Endurox is barely tolerable. YMMV.

Tim S
Tim Schafstall
Joined Nov 15, 2007
1,073 points
Dec 4, 2008
Interesting thread...holy shit, Jon Sinclair is posting! Take his advice, don't listen to a punter like me.

I've occasionally stuggled with the same problem--I've been a dedicated runner for 30 years, climber for 11. I've found that 100+ mile weeks are for those with genetic gifts or remarkable resistance to injury or both, and anyone running that much, probably isn't climbing anything. And I agree with the notion that to be really, really good at either pursuit, you have to focus on one. Since I don't have a lot of natural talent for either, I don't worry about it too much.

That said, I've found that training for long (marathon and longer) races definitely makes me a better alpine climber; I doubt it's much good if your goal is to be a 5.13 hardman. A few years back I thought running was cutting into my climbing time too much, so I started combining them by incorporating easy alpine solos (4th class or very easy 5th) into my long-slow runs. This provides a very long (6-8 hour) effort with a nice break of scrambling in the middle, not to mention a very enjoyable day. In the winter, it's backcountry skiing--best workout ever. I set my marathon PR (2:56) training this way a couple years ago.

Favorites: North Ridge of Mt Alice (RMNP) from Wild Basin; Donner Ridge on Ypsilon (RMNP) from Lawn Lake TH; Static Peak (Never Summer) from Cameron Pass; anything in the Indian Peaks. The beer tastes pretty damn good after a day like that.

Edit: I should add, Mt. Meeker via the Loft, from Long's Peak TH. You know you're a geek've ever put crampons on your running shoes.
John Korfmacher
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Jul 13, 2004
100 points
Dec 4, 2008
I don't know if anyone else has touched on the topic of heart rate monitoring while running, but it deserves a mention here, Jay.

Staying aerobic while running is key to burning fat, not muscle tissue. One of the main reasons people lose muscle, and muscular strength, from running is that they run at too high of a heart rate. There's a heart rate for everyone called their 'aerobic threshold', which is the point where the body switches from burning stored fat as a fuel, to burning protein as fuel.

For most people, their bodies burn fat efficiently at about 160 beats per minute or less. (there are a lot of formulas for determining your aerobic threshold) Above this rate, the body can't burn fats efficiently enough to meet our energy demands, so it switches to burning protein, which it gets from catabolizing muscle tissue.

You may want to make sure that you're doing most of your runs while staying in your aerobic range, and keeping anaerobic workouts to once a week or so. That might help you keep your muscle tissue and your strength up while maintaining your running routine.
From Boulder, Colorado
Joined Sep 12, 2006
0 points

Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.

Email me.
Page 2 of 2.  <<First   <Prev   1  2

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · People · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About