Vertical marathons involve a special set of challenges compared to regular marathons, and completing one such as the upcoming Swissotel Vertical Marathon will definitely be no easy feat. Participants will have to overcome gravity and fatigue while scaling up the 73-storey building! But you’ll be rewarded with an excellent panoramic view of Singapore’s city skyline!

Mark Bourne, last year’s first place winner for males, finished in 6 minutes and 51 seconds, and most runners should expect to finish the race in about 12 to 25 minutes.

The 5 workouts listed below will prepare you for a vertical marathon and take on new heights!

Stair Climbing

Nothing can prepare runners for a vertical marathon like climbing stairs! The Swissotel has 1,336 steps over 73 stories, so athletes wishing to participate in the race this year need to prepare for that many stairs. There are plenty of high-rise skyscrapers in Singapore’s residential area that are suitable for training.

  • Begin by climbing buildings that are 10 stories high. Focus on completion rather than pushing the body too hard. Remember to take the lift down to prevent damage to your knees.
  • With each week, increase intensity by climbing taller buildings. Eventually, climb up buildings that are 30 stories high and focus on increasing speed.

Cross Training

Workouts for a vertical challenge need to incorporate cross training that better prepares the whole body. This is because when individuals run up a set of stairs, they activate their upper body as they latch onto the stair handles. The core is also activated continuously throughout the motions of climbing.

The exercises below will get the upper body in shape and give runners the needed edge when taking on a vertical challenge.

  • Begin by doing 4 sets of 10 bench presses using dumbbells.
  • Next, do 4 sets of 10 bicep curls on each arm.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 pushups.
  • Do 2 sets of planks at 30-45 seconds each.
Photo Credit: 123rf

Uphill Sprints

Uphill sprints are an ideal way to prepare for climbing up a skyscraper, as they build leg and lung power. With the plan below, you’ll build up both in no time.

  • Do 25 metres of walking lunges. Lunge forward with the right leg, and bring the right forearm down until it touches the right calf. Balance with the opposite arm spread out, and return to standing position. Continue with the left leg and left arm. Repeat exercise. If you can’t find your balance, you can do this exercise on level ground.
  • On an uphill slope, do 3 sets of sprint warmups, and build up your RPE (Rated Perceived Exertion) from 50 to 90 percent for 20 metres each time. Rest for 1 minute between sprints.
  • On an uphill slope, do 3 reps of 40 meter sprints at 95 percent maximum intensity. Each week, add a sprint. Rest for about 1 minute between sprints.

Hit the Gym

Using the stair-climbing and elliptical machines with moderate to high resistance is also a great way to prepare for a race up a high-rise.

  • Use the stair climbing machine for 45 minutes, 2 times per week. Warm up for 10 minutes at 50 percent of your RPE. After 10 minutes, go up to 60 percent. At 20 minutes, increase to 70 percent. When it is 30 minutes, go up to 80 percent RPE. At 35 minutes, decrease to 70 percent. After 40 minutes pass, decrease to 50 percent, and spend the last 5 minutes cooling down.
  • On alternate days, use the elliptical machine for 1 hour, 2 times per week. Warm up for the first 10 minutes, and then alternate with no hands for every other 10 minute interval. Spend the last 10 minutes cooling down.
Photo Credit: 123rf

Normal Running

Running can strengthen the cardiovascular system. It’s important when practicing for a vertical challenge that the focus be on interval training, and not long distance runs.

  • Warm up by jogging for 10 minutes.
  • Run for 3 minutes at 90 percent maximum heart rate.
  • Go back to jogging for 3 minutes.
  • Repeat the pattern 5 more times.
  • Finish off by cooling down for 10 minutes by jogging.

Ready to Scale the Tallest Skyscrapers!

Taking on a vertical marathon requires strength and power, and this plan of exercises will prepare participants for both. It’s worth noting that participating in stair marathons is beneficial to the body, helping to strengthen the heart and lungs, while also being an excellent fat burning exercise.

Moreover, working out these areas also reduces the risk of injury and can make runners better at regular running. Follow the plan outlined in this article and you will be well-equipped for the Swissotel Vertical Marathon in November!

Jonathan Chou

Jonathan was a stereotypical couch potato a few years ago. He finally took the courage to take his health into his own hands, and now enjoys lengthy runs by East Coast Park.

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