I just subscribed to a up-run competition, the competition takes place on the staircase of a building. The building is 107 meters high, 25 stories, 500 or so staircases.

I never been on this kind of competition before. I've run up hill before, I ran on staircases (max 1500) a few time when a child. I do some hiking and biking (also uphill).

Since I didn't run on a building like this before and the competition is very soon(3 days) I would like to know how to prepare both mentally and physically.

What should I wear, does a small repose help in this kind of run, should I alternate/ run and walk, how much should I warm up before so I don't get tired, because it is a speed competition rather than one of endurance? Hope for an advice from someone who has done something similar. Thanks

  • 3
    If it's in three days, not much you can do physically. Wear comfortable athletic shoes that have grip, do some light jogging and high knee drills for a warmup and be very aware of where you are placing your feet, especially if you have to come down at speed as well as up.
    – JohnP
    Mar 27, 2013 at 19:40
  • @JohnP On the phisical side I think I expect adcice mostly of warm-up, and the rest I can hope to get from my general fitness. Thanks Mar 27, 2013 at 20:03
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    Today I finished the up-run competition with 3 min and 22 seconds, I think 23rd place. What lesson did I learned? This: is very important that you don't push too much in the beginning, taking too much stairs at a time also can be a loosing bet. The first two guys that won said that they've done two stairs at a time an I think the best approach is this I took 4 and the 3 steps at a time and around the last floors I got really tired. Mar 30, 2013 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


The best way to prepare for a real life situation is to train the same way, at least mostly. So, in your specific case, You should start by climbing stairs. You don't have to climb the same amount as will be in the competition, but start gradually and work your way up. Since this competition is about

1) Endurance 2) Strength 3) Speed

So you should train those aspects in that order. I say that order because you can't finish if you don't have enough endurance or strength, no matter how long it takes, and strength means nothing if you've 'maxed out' by the second flight.

Train the primary muscles

This includes climbing actual stairs, as well as the stair stepper at the gym. Given the choice actual stairs are your best option, as they directly relate to what will be required for the competition. One or two stairs isn't really relevant at this point, because you will be focusing on cardio, legs, and glutes, and it will tax you :-). The point of this section of training is to get the primary muscles ready for the competition, to make sure they are physically prepared to go the distance, and they will know what to expect.

Train the secondary muscles

Secondary muscles are sometimes overlooked unfortunately, but this would give you a slight advantage against other competitors who don't train them. Often called support muscles, these are the muscles that help the primary muscles function. Think of how a bench works (primarily)chest and triceps, but secondarily works the shoulders and traps. The secondary muscles in your case could be abs, calves, and even shoulders -- if you swing your arms back and forth when you step.

Bottom line is, you should see slight to decent improvements when training if you work these muscles outside of primary training. This doesn't have to be super-intense or heavy training, light-weight high-rep training is fine, this is endurance training which is exactly what you want.

You'll notice I didn't speak much about endurance speed and strength training. There's info on the site about training in this fashion, but to summarize:

Endurance training involves mostly low intensity and long duration. For your particular application, start the stairs slow and make completion your goal.

Strength -- To put it simply -- is the polar opposite of endurance. This high intensity short duration. There are some merge areas between strength and endurance where you'd work both, but that's out of scope here. For your application, this is where you'd pick the amount of stairs you want to climb at once. On one extreme, you could jump 6-10 stairs at a time (or however many your stride length allows), but the duration would be extremely short. On the other extreme, you could stick to one stair at a time. You'd have to find your own sweet spot, but as you found out, endurance is key so strength should be an afterthought.

Speed -- 'nuff said.

Hopefully this helps future visitors also, as well as your training for next time.

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