On September 5th, 2015, British Columbia, Canada is going be introduced to a trail race that’s a completely different kind of animal. It’s famously said “the Summit is only the half-way point“, but what if it didn’t have to be? What if the summit was the end?
Salomon has created this in Whistler with the Salomon Valley to Peak trail running race, a 23km/14.3M long run that gains over 1609m’s/5280ft from the Valley floor to the very top of Whistler Peak. To put that elevation another way, it’s almost exactly like climbing a vertical mile into the sky.
This is going to be intense and epic! Here’s some of my tips on how to prepare yourself for a feat like this.
The Secret to Running up Mountains
What’s the secret to training for an uphill race like Salomon Valley to Peak? The secret is that there is no secret at all. You just need to put in the miles, get breathless and learn to love feeling a little uncomfortable. There are a few top tips though that can definitely help you to get the most out of race day and really have fun out there.
Let’s be honest, running uphill is hard work, but it is what makes you a stronger runner. Think of running uphill in terms of perceived effort rather than pace. What this means is that you won’t be trying to run up the hill at the same pace that you can run on flat trail, instead slow your pace down to a point that allows you continue running at a regulated heart rate. If you push uphill too fast your heart rate will spike, that’s just something you won’t be able to maintain for long.
Learn to power hike/walk
Yes you read that right, walking is definitely allowed! This isn’t your everyday walking pace though. This is a hiking pace with a bit of oomph behind it. It’s all about power and stride. If the hill is too steep or sustained for you to continue running, oftentimes it is more efficient to power up those hills in hiking mode. When you are out training on your long hills, throw some power hiking into your routine with emphasis on the power. Pump your arms, straighten your back and take short steps to ensure you are using the big glute muscles to propel you up the hill.
Run Technical Trail
Trail running often involves technical terrain, roots, rocks and twisty trail, and the Salomon Valley to Peak race is no different. Be prepared for this type of trail by training on it. Practice running up and down as they both require different muscle groups. The small stabilizing muscles in your ankles need to be prepped for this kind of terrain. Train on uneven terrain and you will be sure that your muscles will be ready to keep you upright on race day.
Smile & Have Fun
If you’re not smiling and having fun you’re doing something wrong. You signed up for this race to have some fun, challenge yourself and reach a goal. When you are out there training never forget how much fun running is, flying downhill or cresting the top of a long hill that gives you rewarding views, this is what it’s all about. Running is just fun and running in beautiful mountain terrain well that’s just amazing!
Get out on those trails, challenge yourself, get breathless and come home feeling like you left it all out there on the trail. Myself and Leigh will see you on September 5th at the Salomon Valley to Peak trail race smiling and ready to have some fun, after all that’s what trail running is all about.
Register Online Now: Salomon Valley to Peak Trail Race