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I am training for my first mountain ultramarathon :-) Unfortunately, I live in a completely flat location --- the biggest hill is about 20 meters. I use the hill extensively during my runs, but I am afraid it may not be sufficient to prepare for 2-8km climbs.

Today I extended my workouts with running stairs (42 floors, about 130 meters). Is it a good idea? What other exercise could I add to my workouts?

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I've never extensively run stairs for training but they're far better than running flat (even that 20m hill is pretty flat).

If your climbs are up to 8km (eeuch!) then you need to simulate that in training. I would probably starting progressing the stair run to be the equivalent. Bear in mind that an 8km is very difficult mentally - you need to be able to keep going.

The other thing to worry about is the down-hill on the other side. You need to have the footwork - and the confidence in your footwork - to be able to manage it.

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Sarge, I've just come from a 2-day excurse to Polish mountains (Tatry) and must admit that you're absolutely right in your last sentence --- actually, I can't run down-hills! The biggest problem was that while I'm a typical forefoot striker, when running down-hills I was unable to land on my forefoot without losing stability. In the end I injured my knees and foot... Another (minor :-) problem was that with incline about 30% my run was slower than a walk :-( –  Michal R. Przybylek Jul 22 '13 at 17:15
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Oooh, ouch. To run down hills you absolutely need to land on your forefoot (at least in my opinion!). In Taekwon-Do you are taught to spin on your forefoot so that your toes can control you spin. That reason applies when running downhill. If you land on your heels then you can't control anything and you lose the shock absorbing capability of your foot controlling the motion from the forefoot to the heel. I would figure out why you couldn't land on your forefoot and fix that. You may need to do single-leg balancing exercises (and when you can do them eyes-shut waving your arms - you'll be ready –  Sarge Jul 22 '13 at 19:59
    
I tried these exercises and they were easy for me, so I guess there must be a problem with something else. Anyway, thanks for your advice! –  Michal R. Przybylek Jul 25 '13 at 20:46

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