Stair running is a great way to switch up from your usual routine, and it has some added benefits in terms of exercise too. It’s a very high-intensity workout that will improve your speed, running power and cardiovascular fitness. In addition, you will find that your running technique, especially your striding and your foot striking will improve dramatically.
All you need to start is a flight of stairs with enough landing room. You would be carrying a lot of momentum as you run up the stairs, and the landing area is essential to break your run. We wouldn’t want you running into a wall, after all.
A word of caution: If this is your first stair session, don’t overdo the exercise. Start slowly and increase the sets per workout gradually. You can start with 4 sets at an easy pace. If you are nursing a knee, ankle or hip injury, don’t even think about putting yourself through a stair workout. Consult a physio before starting stair running if you are recovering from an injury.
Start with a standard warm-up to loosen your muscles. Stretch those essential calves, hamstrings and glutes, and make sure your ankles are well oiled for your first day. Begin by climbing one step at a time, and get familiar with the quirks of the steps, if any. Walk a couple of sets up and down the stairs in your first session. Pay attention to how your foot is landing on each step. Ease into the routine and never start running on your first day.
Use the descent to catch your breath and regulate your breathing, but don’t climb down casually. Many a leg has slipped after a reckless step down the stairs.
On your first running day – this should be at least after two or three stair walking sessions – start slowly. It’s not a race, just a workout.
Carry a water bottle to stay hydrated, and have a sip after every four sets. Work your way up from four to six sets per session and up to 10 sets per workout over the course of four-five weeks.
The best things about stair running is that you only need to do it once or twice a week. It’s not an everyday routine, so don’t worry about making good speed, and to get better at it, start taking the stairs instead of the elevator.