Thursday 13 September 2012

A good run

While in Magic Wood, waiting for boulders to dry out, I decided to go for a couple of jogs to keep trim. I found a nice track that led up into the mountains in steep zig zags from 1300m to over 1900m, above the tree line and into a lovely open mountain corrie. On the first outing, it was super humid and felt like hard work. I walked a few sections, but I sensed that the uphill running was beginning to feel close to ‘steady state’. So a few days later I did it again on a much nicer day and got on much better.

I ran over 600m altitude gain in 36 minutes without stopping to walk which is the first time I think I’ve ever run so far uphill in one push. The interesting thing was that I did the run after eating lunch (I’d had 4 hours bouldering in the morning). Normally if I ever run I do it after the overnight fast to get into fat oxidation quicker. The difference was quite amazing! I know that’s rather obvious but it was still quite something to experience it. Instead of feeling like a motivational mission, it felt pretty easy. Moreover, after the harder steep sections I could feel my legs wanting to run faster as soon as the angle decreased again. I guess habitual runners must be used to that feeling but it’s nice for an amateur to feel it even once.

I remember reading when I started climbing that Messner, in training for the first ascent of Everest without oxygen in 1978, 'claimed' to be able to run 1000m uphill in 35 minutes. So I’m officially 3/5ths as fit as Messner. Im not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Perhaps I put in some training for my enchainment idea after all?

I wrote some ideas about mental strategies for motivating yourself to run uphill on the training blog here.

In conversation with... Reinhold Messner from MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT on Vimeo.


  1. If you google "vertical kilometer record" you find that the official record is 30:56, so Messner's 35 is quite plausible.

    (Personally I'm quite pleased if I can sustain 500m/hr walking with a rucksack full of climbing gear)

  2. I managed 530m in 26 minutes on holiday and I'm a not very fit 48 year old, though it does seem that going up hills suits me. Rock climbing's your thing Dave - don't get too diverted into the running!

  3. ... and perhaps something of a tangent, but the DAV has a standardised test for candidates for guided expeditions. They reckon if you can do 500m/hr in big boots with a 20kg rucksack then you're fit enough for 8,000 metre expeditions. These are of course guided expeditions by the easiest routes, probably with oxygen, and not "solo via a new route without oxygen in a day" undertakings.

    Details (in German):