Author Topic: Training for the Ascent  (Read 9588 times)

Kenneth Holbert II

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Training for the Ascent
« on: February 04, 2015, 06:49:20 PM »
I found out about Pikes Peak Ascent Last year.  I just qualified for the Ascent on Sunday Feb 1, 2015 with a 2:23:48 time on the Super Half Marathon in Colorado Springs.  I wish to start training so I am able to complete the 13.1 mile run race up the mountain.   Would someone please give me some ideas on what I need to do start practicing so I am ready in Six Months to complete it without being disqualified.

Ken II

John Garner

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Re: Training for the Ascent
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2015, 08:28:49 AM »
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but I would stop running and focus all of my training on walking uphill quickly. Find a nice, long hill (or Barr Trail itself) and just do repeats if you have to. Even better, ff you have access to a treadmill, set it to 15%, turn on the tunes, and get walking. Focus on taking shorter steps but at a higher cadence. Also practice breathing in on one step and out on another. That helps a lot above treeline.

For the vast majority of folks, after you take that turn onto Ruxton ave, odds are that it would be in your best interest to walk the rest of the way to the top. Many folks force themselves to run large chunks of the first few miles only to wish that they had not wasted so much energy getting up Ruxton once they find themselves above treeline and are slowed down to a stagger.

Also, don't equate walking with being slow. Last year I walked from half a mile before Barr Camp all the way to the top, covering the A-Frame to Summit section in 56 minutes.


John Vomastic

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Re: Training for the Ascent
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2015, 11:34:52 AM »
Congratulations on qualifying for the PPA.  Although the PPA is only 13.32 miles, it is equivalent to a marathon (26.2 miles).  For most runners the PPA will take 30 minutes longer to complete than a flatland marathon.  For those with a half marathon qualifying time; double it and add 60 minutes.  For you, that would be an expected finish time about 6:00.  Last year I finished the PPA in 5:55.  I walked the entire course and purposely was the last one cross the start line and still had to wait for the backup to clear after the first aid station.  This year with the multiple wave starts, things should be much better.

I live in the Manitou Springs area and do mostly treadmill training in the winter months.  When the snow clears (April, May), I will hike to Barr Camp.  When the snow clears above timberline (mid June), I will hike to the top and ride the Cog RR down (if seats are available) or hitchhike down.  I park at the start line so I can get a good idea of my actual times at various checkpoints along the route and how close I come to meeting the cutoff points at Barr Camp and A-Frame. 

A finish time of 6:00 means that you completed the 13.32 mile PPA at an average of 2.22 mph.  Those with a finish time of 6:00 will only average about 1.5 mph (40 min miles) above timberline or 2 hours to complete the final 3 miles from A-Frame to the top.  Just like training for a marathon, long runs (or in this case walks) are important (time on your feet). 

If you don't have a treadmill, think about buying one.  There are usually an abundance of them on Craigslist.  You don't need one with a big motor.  Walking at an inline of 10-15% does not tax the motor.  If it only has an incline of 12% you can raise the front end to provide the extra grade of 3%. 

Here are a couple of good links that specifically address training.


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Re: Training for the Ascent
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2015, 01:06:59 PM »
I've doubled 5 times, and up until last year I did mainly treadmill incline workouts.  Last year I started dragging a tire Marshall Ulrich style and found that to be a great workout.  I was able to run outside, while maintaining sustained tension on my muscles for an extended time. 


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Re: Training for the Ascent
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2015, 05:15:04 PM »
I would recommend getting up to the top of the peak several times in the months leading up to the race and do some training up there as well. Try going down to the A-Frame and back up the first time, ~ 6miles. Follow this with the same workout but add a mile down and back up working your way up to the famous 3-2-1 workout. A lot of this is explained in more detail in the Harald Fricker book on the PPA and PPM. Good Reading.