We confess: we Runlovers have a rule that should not be disclosed (we are a little ashamed of it).
If the elevator is on the floor you can take it, if the escalators are moving, take them.
However, we swear, if these two conditions are not met, we always take the stairs. Because taking the stairs is good for your everyday life, and it’s even better if you use them for training. So if your urban route involves some stairs, do it. You will not regret it.
Why taking the stairs is good for you
Climbing stairs stresses the muscles and heart and thus develops two aspects of running that are normally trained only with repeats and stretches. And not only that.
Taking your heart to the limit actually trains your physique to raise its anaerobic threshold and make you consume oxygen better. By requiring more, you take in more and your body learns to use it better. In fact, do you remember how hard you used to struggle up the stairs at home before you started running? And how much less are you doing today that you have been running for some time? That’s it: your body needs less oxygen because is able to use wisely what you give it. You’ve been increasing your VO2 max and you just thought you were running….
Not only a benefit to the heart
But it’s not just the heart that you train by taking the stairs. You also train your muscles, particularly your glutes, which must overcome the force of gravity. And you especially train your balance: when you jump from one step to the next unconsciously you rely precisely on your sense of balance to land on the next step without missing your aim. And so you also train another fundamental aspect of running that is harder to perfect with flat running except with targeted exercises: that of balance.
It is clear now that Rocky was not wrong to end his glorious run on the very steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art: he wanted to train his physique to be snappy, poised, and relentless the moment he was needed. Like you, right?
(Image Credit: Escher, Convex and Concave)