Hills vs. stairs

A lot of serious runners incorporate hill workouts in their training, however, what do you do if you live in a very flat place, or the hills aren’t close by? (It’s so unfair when hills are inconveniently located.)

If this is the case, your only option is a stair workout. Hopefully there’s a tall building where you can access the stairwell. If not, you’ll have to make do with what’s available. Below is where I go for my stair training.stair - porch

Yes, I have to do a lot of reps for a good workout, however, these stairs are very conveniently located. It’s my front porch.

There’s a decent grade not too far from my house where I can train, so I don’t really use my porch for running. However, I still get in some stair workouts with the Flying Irish, the running group I often join.

We have a route call Stairmaster which hits several sets of stairs in the three-mile route. A couple are pictured below.stair-arena

stair peaceful valley

The two photos below are me in the middle of a recent stair workout. I forgot my camera, so after arriving home, I googled, “Jim doing stair workout”, and these photos showed up from Google Earth. I’m surprised the angles those satellite cameras can get.

stair jim running

stair run at cemetery

Distance being equal, I think it’s fair to say that stairs are more demanding than hills. When I do stairs, it’s two at a time, at least. Stairs are constructed for walking, so a running stride just doesn’t match up to one stair at a time.

However, if you’re on a long, tiring run and incorporate a stairway with lots of stairs, I won’t yell at you if you do one at a time. But if I find out you walked them, I’ll track you down and force you to listen to my two-hour seminar on running stairs.

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