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Mountain running deepest secrets #ONE

Oktober 30, 2017

Mountain running deepest secrets #ONE

* This is not about the latest gear, newest app or miracle diets.

Productive daily routines, healthy food, sleep pattern, good habits and a well thought training regimen all can have a tremendous impact on the quality of energy available.

We are a system, improving one area of life, all other areas improve in a virtuous circle. Consequently type of food and when we eat determine ability to focus. Sleeping well, getting up early, determine the energy available for exercise and daily productivity. Making time for quality recovery will have a direct impact on health, stamina, and performance.

How we maintain our energy throughout the day is extremely multifactorial. The most amazing aspect of energy, we can produce it, manipulate it, and store it, which is often overlooked. When it comes to endurance training energy is key. Between the challenging terrain, the intensity of the effort, the base fitness required, the dedication needed to perform, just an inspiration to make it a lifestyle!

Productive daily routines, healthy food, sleep pattern, good habits and a well thought training regimen all can have a tremendous impact on the quality of energy available. It’s also key for optimal fitness & performance and that goes for everyone from a new to experienced recreational to elite athlete. Get inspired, It’s motivating and free!

Lets look at: Quality sleep / Food, digestion and recovery / Quality, variation, consistency and frequency of training.

Quality Sleep

Quality sleep is key we all know that, but more importantly it’s the time we go to bed and the time we wake up that maters most.

When an endurance training regiment is part of your lifestyle early rise is a bonus, first you gain hours in your day, you get up before everyone (most of the time!), it’s your own time you can use to train, study, work and most importantly you will have more energy for the day. Research shows that the first 3 hours are the most productive - but only if we make them productive! Going to bed at midnight and getting-up at 10am each day is not the best way to maximize on energy.

If you are interested in experimenting, take a few weeks and change your clock; get up 15min. earlier for five days and then add an other 10min. for four days, and so on. Do the same in the evenings, if you regularly go to bed past 23:00 go to bed 15min. earlier and so on. Within a few weeks your body will have adjusted, you will get use to the new routine, a positive habit. Getting-up between 5am-6:30am and going to bed no later than 22:00 is best but adjust to your needs.

Food, digestion and recovery

Enjoying daily activities that are part of recovery is important to maintain a healthy body and to stay injury free: taking a bath, relaxing before dinner, small yoga or prehab routine, cooking healthy food, reading in bed... are all extremely beneficial and can easily be incorporated on a weekly basis. Down time is good, but remember not all rest produces recovery!
Like a morning routine finding an evening routine that includes quality and quiet time, even if it’s only 20 minutes, also means better management.

We also need recovery from food so the body can repair and rebuilt itself rather than constantly digesting. 

Eating two good quality meals a day, and a smaller meal post workout, eliminating snacking, and eating within six to ten hours daily gives a perfect window for the digestive system to recover. It also helps to reduce emotional dependency on food. Eating throughout the day keeps the digestive system ‘on’ with no time to slow down for proper recovery. It’s a bit like leaving a computer plugged-in day after day, eventually you will exhaust the battery.

If each meals are filled with fresh & healthy food you won’t feel the need to snack since you will have the require calories to keep the energy level balance. Good protein and healthy fats, makes us feel satisfied for many hours.

When and what we eat before and after workouts has a direct impact on the quality and benefits gain from training, timing is key.(see future article).


Quality, consistency and frequency of training.

I see lots of talented recreational endurance athlete waisting energy and strength with too much weekly volume - the amount of hours and kilometers put in each week, it’s a common mistake. More than often high training volume creates fatigue, soreness, demands longer recovery, and predisposed form related overuse injuries.
Many endurance athlete think; I’m training to race a 100km mountain run so I should train 100km a week. Total weekly hours of training varies between individuals and depends of: years of steady training, tissue tolerance, genetics, fitness level, the distance training for, individual goals, work/family schedule, just to name a few.

It’s not about the hours you spend training its about what is achieved in each hour of the workout.

Variation is key, each workout should have specific objectives with different intensities. Dividing weekly workouts between tempo change, steady state, vertical training, short, longer, easy, steeper sessions... each training component recruits different energy systems and stimulates a particular adaptation if allowing sufficient recovery between sessions. It also trains the leg muscles for better oxygenation, power, recovery, quick leg turnover, endurance and so on. We don’t gain speed by always riding at the same pace and don’t become stronger at running hills if walking them the minute the grade gets steeper.

To see results training needs to be consistent from week to week, month after month, and with proper progression, or else it’s two steps forward, one step back.

It’s better to train one hour five days a week than two hours twice a week and then skipping 4 days. To gain speed for for the distance and greater endurance for the mountains training 4 days a week minimum is recommended.

Quality of each workout and variation of the terrain will make you a stronger mountain athlete. Understanding the purpose and objectives of each sessions motivates to stay focus on the end goal, it’s a great process!


Quality workouts

They create positive energy, build on-going strength, power and endurance. They also promote fat burning at higher intensity with proper physiological adaptation, saving precious glycogen. Result, you are getting faster but using less energy expenditure, building an efficient fat burning machine! (see next article)

To run hills you have to train on them, not just run/walk them!
Speed is not the goal. endure is!


Remember not to waste daily energy on the wrong things. Educate yourself, read articles & books. Spend money on quality & fresh food, learn new recipes and cook for others. Share your training and goals with someone experienced and qualified. Give 100% of yourself in each workout, be motivated, present, and inspired to get out the door and train. You will discover new potential and feel empowered for new challenges. Start making daily changes where is needed, take it step by step and progressively.

Chloë is an elite multi-sport athlete with over two decades of experience competing around the world. Chloë is a consultant in sports rehabilitation & human performance teaching on an international platform. Sharing her passion, experience and knowledge is an integral part of her daily routine.  In her free time, she loves skinning up mountains and skiing fresh powder. Canadian, she lives full time in Chamonix.



Next article: Mountain Endurance Training Secrets: how to train, fuel and hydrate to be a fat burning machine!

Cover photo: Dylan Taylor

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