Sunday, February 14, 2016

Stair Climb Workout Update (2/14/16)

Stair Climb Workout Update (2/14/16)
Location: Springfield Wyndham City Centre (Formally known as and always will be the Hilton)

Photo courtesy of EB Photography
With the Springfield Fight for Air Stair Climb just around the corner I thought I'd share some of my stair workouts Ive been doing the past few weeks in order to prep for the event. Ive been slowly building my miles over the winter because of the Clinton Lake 30 miler coming up in late March. So in order to get in some stairs and keep my mileage up I've sandwiched in some stairs between some miles. The stairs have also, like always, provided an extra strength base to my base milage running wise. They go hand in hand in my opinion. Here are just a few samples of what I like to label in my log as "stair climb runs." Overview: most of my daily workouts during the winter time have consisted of incline treadmill (15% incline @ x mph for x amount of minutes/miles), trail runs, stairs, lunges, endurance strength based lifting. For me in the dead of winter means pure strength based endurance where I harden the legs to as strong as I can possibly get them so it can carry me through the spring, summer and fall months. I enjoy racing year around and in order to do that I must put in work like this in the winter time.


2.5 mile warm up
11 x 32 floors (5,852 steps, 3,630 vertical feet)
2.5 mile cool down

3 miles up
15 x 32 floors (7,980 steps, 4,950 vertical feet)
3 mile cool down

5 miles up
10 x 32 floors (alternating single steps and double step)
5 mile cool down

3 mile tempo run
10 x 32 floors (mixed intervals)
4.5 mile tempo run

3 mile tempo
3 x 32 floors hard (2:45, 2:46, 2:50) rest was just 90 sec elevator ride down then straight into next one
3 x 32 floors (single, double, triple step)
5 mile tempo run

10 x 32 floors (all under 3:30 rest just 60 seconds)

Photo courtesy of EB Photography
These entries aren't nearly all of them but they are just a few to give you an idea of what stair workouts I do. There much more to my training schedule. Many more miles, workouts, lifting routines, ploys, and other supplemental work. If you would like specific workout plans and other tips comment at the bottom and I will try to help. Enjoy and see you in the stairs or on the road.


  1. Hi Justin, I am from around Muncie, Indiana and I am currently enrolled at Ball State University studying Athletic Training. I have done a few stair races now including: Bop to the Top (2014, 2015, 2016), Skyrise Chicago (2015), and am going to be doing the Fight for Air Stair Climb at the Chase Tower in a couple of weeks. I been fairly successful in my past stair races but I want to know how to get better. What tips do you have for me so I can become a top 5 finisher at my stair races? Thank you!

    1. Stairs racing can be a hard sport to figure out. Each building is different and each race only comes around once a year. It does take some time to figure out. As far as getting better, if you have a fairly long stairwell close to you get in there and start off by just doing multiple reps up the thing with little rest. I'm usually in the stairwell 30 floors for a couple hours twice a week just climbing easy and long, that'll build strength endurance. Once you've got some strength endurance you can start mixing in some interval sprint climbs. Especially if you have a shorter race coming up make sure you get in some sprints. Other than that make sure you're running, biking, incline treadmill, and doing tons of walking lunges and you'll be on the right track.

    2. Thank you so much for the advice Justin! I really appreciate your words of wisdom! I'm hoping to do the SkyRise Chicago this fall. The tallest building in Muncie only has 11 floors of stairs, but I make the most of it! Good luck in your upcoming events!

  2. Thanks for posting little snippets of your workout routines, Justin! I was trying to figure out what insight I could get from somebody who managed to place high in a bunch of obstacle races including the Spartan Races and the Urbanathlon. Clearly, you're a man who not only possesses incredible running ability, but also great all around strength. I've been trying to include strength training for my abdominals and upper body at least once a week as a result. I hope some day that at 25 years old, I'll be able to beat my 2007 PR in the 5k of 17:35 (I'm a minute away now) while also being able to do 20 pullups and 40 pushups in a row without rest. You give me hope! If you're running Loon Mountain again this year, I will see you there!

    1. Hey Matt. Ya I pride myself on being well rounded so I can compete in multiple disiplines. My background as a runner and stair climber gives me a great strength endurance base. I can keep up anybody in the ocr world when it's just running but it's the technique skill stuff that gets me. I have just enough upper body strength to bang out a top finish at world OCR's. Sounds like you have a great upper body base. IN order to get better at those obstacle races, a month or two out I'll start incorporating obstacle specific workouts. Such as I'll either go to a track or incline treadmill run a quarter-1/2 mile stop do a series of burpees, pull-ups, walking lunges, push-ups, bear crawls, etc then run a quarter and repeat for an hour or so. I find that workouts like that where you're doing exercise/obstacles while your HR is high is good. Obstacle races will never be my focus I just use them to stay well rounded and keep things interesting. I'll be out at look this July I'll look for. Keep training and stay healthy.

    2. Thanks for replying, Justin! I'll be sure to do some workouts simulating the overall structure of the Spartan race. I'll be ready to do some burpees too.

      On another note, I notice you do quite a bit of cross-training, especially on the bike. I can attest that after a few months of half running and half cycling at a steady aerobic pace (~75% max heart rate) with hardly any speed work, I'm now down to 18:03 in the 5k. This is the second fastest 5k I've ever run in my life!

  3. Thanks for the detail...always wondered how much endurance vs. speed work is optimal.

    What do you typically do on race day to warm-up before taking off?

    Best - Caleb, Indianapolis