Splitting elevation and long run

I don’t run massive volume a week. I’m never less than 50km and rarely more than 100km. I’m 56yrs old, have had 6 spine ops and also have a 7yr old daughter. So I just do what I can these days.

One thing I found tough, was finding the the time to do a 40-50km training trail run that also had significant vert. It just took too much time away from family. So what I generally do now, is split my long sessions on alternative weekends.

One weekend I might do 40-50km with less than 1,000 mtrs vert, then the next weekend I will do a dedicated vert session, which will get me 1500mtrs and take 4hrs or so but only cover about 16km.

Does anyone else do it that way?

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I live in a hilly area, so it’s actually difficult to not get some sort of elevation in every time I go running. However, yes, I will regularly do trail runs dedicated to ascending/descending if I have an event or mountain trip planned. Still trying to master descending efficiently though, quads too weak, brain too scared.

6 spine ops, wow, kudos for getting out there and running regularly.

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Thanks Anna. Yes my quads are never happy descending. I had this afternoon off, so I’ve just come back from a 52km run with 775mtrs. Next week I’ll probably try and top 1200 mtrs on my Saturday run.

On my run today, I suffered from an issue that happens to me regularly. My legs are not my limiting factor but my feet get really really tender after about 40km. I’ve tried different shoes and insoles but still get the same problem. I have no idea how to fix!

Yes, the ops were a difficult period for us but we got through it.

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Hi Ian, I wonder if loosening your shoe laces would help to reduce tenderness. I overtightened my shoes during a race yesterday, and I believe it contributed to my unusually sore feet.

On the topic of vert training, since I don’t live near mountains, I do road, technical trail, and stair repeats, 30% incline treadmill, and powerlifting. It works well.

Kudos on your 52k run.


Thanks John. The run took 7hrs, I finished about 7.15pm and then my daughter wanted to go to Parkrun Saturday morning, so I ran that with her and definitely knew about that! (do you have Parkrun in the US?)

Wow, 30% treadmill? That must be hard, I think I’d fall off the back!

Re the shoes, that could be a good point. I don’t consider that I have them particularly tight., for the Speedgoats and generally in trail shoes, I go up half a size to 10. For years I used Superfeet insoles and got on with them fine, either the Carbon or the Blue but somehow they aren’t working for me now.

I swapped to Enetor insoles and like them better but I still get the same issue. Been reading up on some tricks that the UK Fell Runners use, which seem to range from rubbing Witch Hazel and olive oil on the feet, to using products like NOK cream. One thing to be thankful for is that I very rarely suffer from blisters.

I will play around with the lace tightening, I have just under 3wks to my race. (I’m also about to try SIS Beta Fuel for the first time)

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Hey FP, how’s the training going? totally forgot that you were training for 110km - remember reading it in your welcome introduction! Wow, 7hr long run, initially i was thinking you would need a few days to recover from that, but then you go do a park run the next day and well, lets say it sounds like you are very ready for your ultra in a couple of weeks :muscle:

As for your feet, have you tried taping? was watching a film recently “Barkley marathons the race that eats its young” and some of the runners taped the bottom of their feet. In climbing, climbers tape their fingers when the skin starts to get thin. Never thought of doing the runner’s equivalent to this before. If you try this out let me know how you get on - my long runs don’t survive 7hrs, so I doubt I’ll need to try this out in the near future.

And going back to the subject of elevation training. When Karel Sabbe trained for the Barclay marathons he only had a 22.4% 38m hill to train on. For a training session he would run/walk up and down this hill x100 to get in 3800m of elevation and descent.

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Hi Anna,

It’s going ok thanks. Had a rest on Sunday (but washed both cars, which somehow seems to tire me out worst of all!) Then an easy 11km Monday, rest Tues and some hill reps today. Have a 21km planned for tomorrow evening and then a dedicated vert session on Fri afternoon. Only 16 days to go!

Thanks for the taping info, I did watch a YT clip on taping by a Kiwi physio based in the UK (IIRC it was a run clinic/show type thing) she was very thorough but seemed to take forever and it looked a bit complex. I might have a look for a simpler version.

My dedicated hill vert sessions are usually at the same spot, it’s about 8km from where I live and is only about 36-38mtrs each time but it’s in a very narrow valley. One side has wooden steps and the other is all grass. I walk up up the steps then ‘run’ down the gnarly trail, cross the valley floor, walk up the other side and ‘run’ down that. I do about 10 or 11 each side (22 ascents) and it gives me about 1150 mtrs and takes approx 2.5hrs.

Hard to say why I pick this hill but the awesome cafe 600 mtrs away ‘could’ be a factor!

I’ve been wanting to try Beta Fuel for a while, so ordered some sachets of powder (just six of them). They came too late for Friday’s run but I wanted to get one bottle ready for tomorrow and it was only then I realised I’d ordered gels by mistake :laughing:

Oh well, I’ll give them a try!

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Hi FP, tried out the Beta Fuel gels yet? do you recommend or do they have that children’s cough medicine vibe!!?

Yep, some videos make a real science out of taping your feet. I’m sure this is necessary in some cases, but like you I always need a simple approach to things like this - quick solution no faffing iykwim. Think I would just get a good tape, round the corners (so they don’t peel up) and tape the area that gets sensitive making sure there were no creases in the tape.

A good cafe/coffee close to where you do hard workouts is essential!! “fueled by coffee” is my motto! :coffee:

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Hi Anna,

Well, I took one for sure but I can’t attest to its effectiveness. Long story short, I did a vert session today, easy 6km jog to the hill and started my ascents. My right knee has been on and off with some pain this week but it was manageable.

About 1hr20 in, I took a Beta Fuel gel, it was quite thick and sweet but I’m used to SIS ISO but not completely gaggy… Trouble was, by 1hr40 in, my knee was in all sorts of pain. I had to ring Mrs FP for a pick up :disappointed:

I also had two Lucho Dollitos I was hoping to try but they’re back in the box!

2 weeks out from my race, arrrgh why does this ALWAYS happen before a race! Typing this with a bag of frozen peas on knee!

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How’s the knee? Really hope it’s just a niggle. Do you tape your knees? Whilst watching Transalpine run films recently, I noticed lots of participants had taped knees. Anyway, I sometimes get knee pain too, so I taped my knee recently with physio tape as it was feeling a bit sensitive/unstable and it really helped. Went for a run and it felt great. It’s the first time I’ve ever done this and I was really pleased. I watched a YT video for instructions and any physio tape will do - as my physio once told me!!

I also wanted to say, if you don’t have a major injury, then now is not necessarily a bad time to have something that forces you to rest and recover. The training has been done. It would have been much worse to have knee pain 8 weeks ago stopping you from doing long runs for a few weeks. Now you can chill, put your feet up and heal.

Never heard of Lucho Dillitos before, they look really yum.

Hope you feel better soon :blush:

Hi Anna,

Thanks for asking. It seems to be getting easier, especially going up and down our stairs and that’s the issue, you can get no pain at all and think you’re good to go and then it’s like a ticking time bomb, in that regard it’s a bit like a calf tear.

I have been doing some strength work that is focussed on Runner’s Knee rehab. There is a physio on YT I watch a lot called James Dunne, I really like him, he explains things well. I haven’t heard of taping the knee but I do know there is stuff like Roc tape etc, I will take a look thanks.

Yes, really good point on the timing. I have a work trip tomorrow for two nights, so training would have been interrupted anyway. I will take my gym kit and do some floor work. Then I will see how things are on Saturday with an easy Parkrun with my daughter. The race entry is sunk now anyway and there are no hotel nights involved, so it doesn’t matter if I do it or not really, just disappointing.

This is the race I’m doing, it’s 110km but they call it the 100. (there is a 110mile version also). I did the 50 version 2yrs ago (56km) and this is the race I was in but I’m not on film. It took me nearly 11hrs to do the 56km, it was very hilly!

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Hey FP

This is the video I used for taping my knee: Kinesiology Taping for Knee Stability - YouTube

This the video James Dunne recommends for knee taping: https://www.kinetic-revolution.com/runners-knee-taping-techniques-for-pain-free-exercise/

Any kinesiology tape is good, it doesn’t need to be a brand name, boots own brand will do. I really think this could help you. For a tenner it’s def. worth a try! Also, what about cycling on the trainer for the next couple of weeks - keep the muscles active without stressing the joint? just an idea because…

that race looks really amazing. Feel a bit homesick now after seeing pictures of the good ol’ Blighty coast. Those coastal trails in England are just beautiful with absolutely stunning views. Hope you can take part and post lots of pictures on here so we can all have FOMO!!


Hi Anna,

Thanks for the link. I’ve been away for work for a couple of days, so couldn’t reply properly. Yes I think the tape is definitely worth a shot, I will let you know how I go. Knee is still quite tight and feels a bit weird when I walk but not all the time. Will re-asses next week.

Yep, there are some beautiful trails in the UK, highly underrated IMO, we don’t have the mega mountains but do have amazing rugged coastline and of course, the Lake and Peak Districts. Plenty to discover!


Yes underrated and that’s a good thing. Every time I was in the mountains this summer the trails, via ferratas were really busy. Unless we were doing a challenging 8hr+ day/route then it was quiet. But these days in the Alps you really have to chose the day and area carefully if you want to have a quiet day out. :smiley:

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That’s interesting. I’ve done a lot of road cycle racing in the Alps and always wondered what it would be like on the trails.

Not sure I’m allowed to post YT links here but do you ever watch Loyd Purvis’. ‘Run4Adventure’ channel? He does some great stuff from the Alps.

Don’t get me wrong, the trails are beautiful and endless. It’s always worth going to the mountains :grin:. It’s just when you have children and can only get away in the holidays, when everyone else is on holiday.

Thanks for tip :+1: will check out Run2adventure. I’m always looking for good YT material/films.

BTW, I post links and no one has told me off so far!

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haha I hear that. In Australia, my wife did her degree part time whilst working full time, so we were restricted to holidaying during school/uni holidays and now we have our daughter, so back in the same boat with only a couple of years ‘off’.

I think we’ll have a holiday in Chamonix soon and our also we’d like to go to Club la Santa but we are fast becoming ‘trail people’ both on foot and bike, so I suspect trips to Cham will be regular. (if we can buy any fuel or food!)

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Hi FP, how’s it going? how’s the knee? will you be on the start line tomorrow evening? If so, I wish you loads of luck, fun, suffering :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: and of course joy and relief at the end of it all!!

Also, I couldn’t help but notice the event is organised by Climb South West. As a climber and a runner this somehow made me happy :slightly_smiling_face:

Chamonix is gorgeous, although I haven’t been to the french speaking Alps in years. Most people here will go to the Austrian Alps as they’re closer and great value for money. For the last few years in Summer we’ve been going to a place called Zillertal. It’s beautiful in Winter and Summer, has great trails and is also great if you have young children. We go for the climbing!

Anyway, back to the topic of this thread. This week I discovered a great hill to train elevation. It’s a 125m ascent up a 1.20km hill. I will be using this hill to get some “mountain fit” legs for some projects I’ve got planned for next year e.g Watzmann traverse. Watzmann - Überschreitung - Crossing the Watzmann - Gorgeous Hike in Berchtesgaden above Königssee - YouTube

The main difficulty of the Watzmann traverse is it’s length and having the fitness to be able to concentrate for 4.5hrs of ridge scrambling and 4.5hrs descending. Because as you can guess, when you’re up there you don’t want to put a foot wrong!! It’s crazy to think that some sky runners run along most of this ridge: Anton Palzer Watzmann-Überschreitung SUB 3 Rekord - YouTube
(sorry this video is in German, just turn the sound off!)

Hi Anna,

The knee has settled a fair bit thanks. I have not run since last Saturday, we jogged the 4.5kms to Parkrun, then did that. (my 7yr old daughter PB’d with a 28.52 :grin: ), then we jogged/walked home again. Since then just some mild walking but ut seems ok.

Been battling a wicked sore throat for a few days but that’s all but gone now and just to be safe, I did a LFT and all is clear. So I will be lining up tomorrow evening with the others, especially as the fuel situation is easing (approx 400km round trip for me).

Weather is forecast pretty windy and decent spells of rain but not all day. We will see.

Those videos look amazing, there is a ridge like that on The Dragons’ Back, scary in the fog! That hill you’ve found sounds perfect, 125m vert is good going for one hill, I’d have to drive some way to find a hill like that.

So glad to hear that your knee has settled and you’re able to attempt the 110km. Have an amazing time.

28.52 - wow she’s a fast one - well done to you FP’s little one :clap:

Totally forgot about the fuel shortages when I wrote my message before. Yeh, have fuel will travel. Hope you can fill up the tank and get to the race. All those with E-cars must be laughing at the moment.

Sending you lots of sunshine and a cool breeze. Have a great race!

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