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April 23, 2010

Run to the Shrine: Tips to Train for the Incline

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo invites world class runners and families alike to join in the Run to the Shrine on Saturday, May 22, 2010. Both the 5K and the 10K options curve through the Zoo and some of the most stunning mountain scenery this side of the Rockies.

Running has tremendous health benefits for the human body. It strengthens the heart and lungs, improves circulation, and keeps the leg muscles strong and toned. The Run to the Shrine is a particularly demanding run due to the 8.5% gradient increase from the base of the Zoo (6,800 feet) to the Shrine (8,100 feet). We wanted to address some of your questions and help you prepare for the Run to the Shrine.

What is the best training I can do for RTS?
Hill training! Hill training is a method of running up hills to increase muscle power and strength. The most common benefits of hill training are: strengthen hamstrings, calves, glutes, hip flexors and achilles tendons. Hill running uses more upper-body muscles than flat running.

What can I expect when I start training?

Hill training is very demanding at first because you work muscles that you don't use very often while running. However, the more you hill train, the easier it becomes.

What is the difference between short, medium and long hills?
The benefits of short, medium and long hills are different. In your training you will want to utilize all of them when preparing for the Run to the Shrine.

Short hills
A short hill is one which takes no more that 30 seconds to run up and has an inclination between 5 to 15 percent grade. The runner's energy source on short hills is entirely anaerobic. When running short hills, the runner should focus on a running technique which has vigorous arm drive and high knee lift, with the hips kept high, so that they are 'running tall', not leaning forwards.

Medium hills
A medium hill is one which takes between 30 to 90 seconds to run up. This is the length of hill is a good distance for the middle-distance runner. This length is good for middle distance runners because it combines the benefits of the short hills with the stresses on local muscular endurance and tolerance of lactic acid.

Long hills
A long hill is one which takes from 90 seconds to three minutes to run up. The energy used to run a long hill comes from aerobic sources, but if parts of the hill are steep and the runner is running hard, there will still be an accumulation of lactic acid. On long hills, the runner will not use as much power per stride as the shorter hills.

Step 1: Wear high quality shoes. Make sure you have a good pair of shoes before you start running. Do not plan to do the Run to the Shrine in a brand new pair of shoes. Break them in before race day.

Step 2: Warm-up. Stretch your knees and lower body prior to starting any run.

Step 3: Stay hydrated. Be sure to bring water with you and stay properly hydrated while you are training.

Step 4: Start with an easy 15 minute warm-up on rolling hills. Take your time. Do not exceed your training level.

Step 5: Maintain good running posture. Pump arms vigorously, lean slightly forward, and keep your head up.

Step 6: Cool down with a 15 minute jog on level or gently rolling ground. Jog slowly on each decent.

1. If you want to run hills on a treadmill, for each change in altitude, run at a 8 percent incline for 90 to 90 seconds with 2 minutes flat recovery jogs.
2. Do not hill train when you are injured.

Learn how to run down hills properly.

Learn about altitude training to fully utilize the Run to the Shrine, and the benefits of running at high altitude. Elite runners train at high altitude to increase the number of red blood cells, improving oxygen delivery to their muscles.

Register online NOW for the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Run to the Shrine!
View 5K Course Map. View 10K Course Map.

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