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Uphill running training is a must to succeed in ultra trails and endurance ultra trails. Running uphill will require you to train for this effort and strengthen your muscles with specific exercises throughout the year. During Winter time, you will focus more on short climbs, while in the Summer, you will perform longer climbs on technical terrain.

Before moving forward to TRM Coaches suggestions on uphill workouts, specifically aimed at ultra trails, there are two additional aspects that we would like you to consider:

  1. include in your training plan exercises for abdominals to be performed at least 3 times a week;
  2. for every 1% increase in slope your energy expenditure will increase by about 3-4%, take it into account in your sports diet.

Let’s now move on to the uphill training sessions specifically designed for Ultra Trailers.

  • EXTRA LONG CLIMB – 1 x 3-7KM (depending on the level of training of the athlete. Advanced athletes may perform up to 4-5 reps). The long climb can be performed, depending on the slope grade, running or walking fast using poles. We advise you to program both types of sessions within your training plan as they have two different functions, the first works more on running technique, the second also trains also the correct use of poles and the efficiency of your arms movement.

Workout execution:

  1. LONG UPHILL CLIMB RUNNING. Slope grade 6-7%, effort intensity not higher than 80% of your HRmax
  2. LONG UPHILL CLIMBING WITH POLES. Slope grade > 20% progressively increasing; effort intensity related with the elevation gain (should be intensive most of the time), pace regulated by your breath.

The downhill phase, for both types of training, should be performed at an easy pace paying attention to your feet supports.

VARIANT FOR THE MOST TRAINED ATHLETES: Perform 1 or 2 sessions a Month of Long climbs running/walking workouts wearing your trail running backpack with a load between 0.5 and 1.5kg.

  • MEDIUM UPHILL REPS – 4/6 x 3-4MIN (depending on the athlete level of training). The ideal slope grade for this type of training would be 8-10%. The recovery phase between one rep and the other is carried out jogging back at the base of the climb. Regarding the effort intensity of execution, you can take as a reference your pace in a 10km race or, preferably, 85-88% of your HRmax.

WOULD YOU like to DISCOVER YOUR ATHLETIC POTENTIAL? WOULD YOU like to know what would be the correct effort intensity of your training sessions?

ASK US about the specific tests you could perform, such as the MAS (maximum aerobic speed) and BOOK NOW an appointment with a TRM Coach:


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Cristina Tasselli

Digital Strategic Marketing Director - certified Innovation Manager - in multinational companies, she is still today the only Italian female athlete to have ran 900 km and 55,000m D+ in the mountains in a single stage race (Transpyrenea 2016, 3rd women overall). She counts numerous Podiums and international Victories on races over 100k. She holds a SNaQ CONI certification as a Trail Running Coach, Athletic Trainer and in Nutrition and Sports Supplementation. Since 2014 she is President and sports executive of innovative technology startups and companies, including Trail Running Movement and Digital Sport 360. She trains elite trail running athletes and she teaches in trail running coach certification courses. She is an author of sports articles on training, nutrition and supplementation in trail running and running, both in Italian and in English and Spanish. She manages relationships and collaborations with Federations and Race Organizers.