Mountain Running

Updated 12/13/2013 with Semester 1 progress

Ah, the mountain. On the days we dmtnsmon’t do squats, we run the mountain, which is about 1 mile with a 37 degree incline. It’s nothing like running on a flat surface. Others may have different experiences, but for me, it’s more of a strength than a cardio workout. When I slow down, it’s not because I’m out of breath or because my heart rate is up, it’s because my leg muscles are pushed to the max.

Instead of always going for the fastest time with the heaviest weight, we can climb it in different ways to train different areas. Power walking with longer strides is not much easier than running; it’s less strenuous on my quads and glutes, but the “suffering” is prolonged. Walking works our calves more and stretches our ankles. On the days when we don’t feel 100%, we carry less weight or walk. I don’t like carrying less weight than the day before unless I really don’t feel up to it. Mentally, it feels like a step back because I’m so far from 50 lbs. Others are trying to carry much more than 50 lbs with various goals.

Everyone’s Goal: 50 lbs in 15 minutes (most of the senior students did this in ~15 min and only one has done it in 11 min)
Dr. Yang’s Goal for me: 50 lbs in 25 minutes (due to my injuries)
Personal Goal: Somewhere in between. Due to my size (5’3.5 & 115 lbs), injuries, and the fact that I’m not a natural runner, I may shoot for less weight at a faster time. 12/13/2013: See spreadsheet below for updated goals and finishing times

I add more weight when I can run in under 17 minutes. It’s an arbitrary number, and I chose it because I didn’t want this drill to take up too much time. It takes about 20 minutes to walk down at a brisk pace, ~25 minutes when I carry weight.

12/3/2013: I decided to change the 17 minute goal in the middle of November. I realized that Dr. Yang wants us to build endurance so I started increasing the weight every few days. My body also became better able to handle the increases compared to the first two months.

mtn run 12-13

  • The last part is pretty flat so I push myself to sprint and shave off a few seconds
  • On the way down, I try to inhale longer than exhale to build more energy and release carbon dioxide more quickly
  • Listening to music usually improves my performance, though I am not sure which genre is optimal. 12/13/2013: Epic music seemed to work best, but I didn’t want to have to rely on music for motivation so I stopped. And it seems I didn’t need it.
  • I do a lot worse on Saturdays since it’s the end of the week and my body is tired
  • 12/13/2013: I started doing a mountain running version of Two Gates Breathing by trying to direct my qi into my legs and feet. I wasn’t able to use my mind the whole time, but I think it helped.
  • 12/13/2013: Running behind people (and dogs) gave me a boost. Sometimes it took a few minutes, but when I caught up to and beat them, it felt good.

wtvestThe senior students ran the mountain 4-6x/week for about 9 months. The 5YP students will have run it 3x/ week for 3.5 months. We started adding weight earlier on, and I can’t tell if it’s better to run it fewer days per week so you get more recovery time. I sometimes ponder the thought of running an extra day, but my muscles and joints haven’t been up to it yet. They need the rest days.

We feel the pressure to improve at a faster rate since we have less time to condition ourselves. The goal is to focus more on sequences starting in 2014. Depending on where we are and on the individual, we may continue to run the mountain next semester. Some of the senior students still run it from time to time.

I like listening to epic music when I run. This is my favorite piece by Two Steps from Hell:

2 thoughts on “Mountain Running

  1. Pingback: End of Semester 1 | a Rabbit and a Dog

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