Rocky Time: Own the Stairs

Stairs. Just the very word has such an element of power to it. Stairs are very important in boosting your overall conditioning and are a great alternative for hills. Shake up your workout by adding one of these stair workouts:

Long Distance Stair Workout:

This type of workout is to build endurance while focusing on the mental aspect of pushing through a long run. Find stairs at least 200-400 steps long. It isn’t hard, research the nearest Stadium or Track for long sets of stairs.

The Workout: It is impossible to base your entire stair workout off a mileage goal so run based on time. If you are going for an endurance workout go for 30-40 minutes of stair repeats with a minute of jogging at the top and bottom of the stairs. You will end up running the stairs at least four times at a slow and steady pace; make sure to not go out too hard on the first one.20160710_095840.jpg

Speed Stair Workout:

This type of workout is working on getting the cadence of your feet faster and to get off your feet faster while running. Find a set of stairs that are about 20-25 steps long, look near schools and universities.

The Workout: The final result will be 9 stair intervals. Run the first set of stairs at 70% effort and jog back down. Repeat two more times. Run the fourth set of stairs at 80% effort and jog back down. Repeat two more times. Finish the last three sets at 90-100% effort. For a more condensed version:

Interval 1-3: Run the whole set of stairs at 70% effort

Intervals 4-6: 80% effort

Intervals 7-9: 90-100% effort

These should be quick reps, focusing your attention on quick feet.

Strength Stair Workout:

Running/walking stairs will always help build strong hamstrings and calves but if you really want to go the extra mile will leg strength here is the workout for you. This is also good for people who are planning on going on an especially strenuous hike.

The Workout: Find a set of light ankle weights, about 3-5 pounds and attach them to both ankles. Walk up a long set of stairs (100-300 steps) going at a slow pace and focusing on driving each leg down to propel yourself upward. Repeat 2-3 times.


Tips for running stairs:20160710_100051.jpg

  • Dress like it is 10-15 degrees warmer outside due to the amount of effort exerted during these workouts.
  • Drink lots of water prior because you will probably sweat more than a usual run
  • Go with a friend! Not only is it safer but also for encouraging high fives as you ascend and descend the stairs
  • Bring music (see below for some of my favorite stair-specific songs)


Stair Running Playlist:

  • Take you back (Frank Stallone)- yes this is from the Rocky movie
  • New Man (Ed Sheeran)
  • Another part of me (Michael Jackson)
  • Be alright (Ariana Grande)
  • He’s the Greatest Dancer (Sister Sledge)
  • Lush Life (Zara Larsson)
  • Working Man (Rush)
  • Rocky Theme Song- Okay I’m a little obsessed with Rocky


Why I run stairs:

In Seattle there is a variety of hidden staircases that makes this city so fun to run in. I live near a particularly long staircase that is about 400 steps long and have been running them with my Dad since I was 13. They are motivating and exhilarating, and nothing can compare to the feeling that you get at the top of the stairs. A sense of accomplishment. I have run a variety of staircases in my life, from the staircases at Safeco Field to the painted staircases of San Francisco. Maybe my favorite movie Rocky has something to do with it, or maybe I just like the rewarding feeling at the end. Either way, I’m always up for the challenge.


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