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One-Hour Workout: Track + Stairs Run Strength Builder

The stairs engage many muscles including core, quads, hamstrings and calves, while also keeping heart rate up for cardiovascular benefit.

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This week’s workout comes from Washington-based Jennifer Comfort, a 12-year veteran of the sport and three-time Ironman World Championship qualifier. Comfort is a USAT Level 1 coach working with SET Coaching.

“When triathletes get further into the run portion of a race, the slow-twitch fibers start to get tired and less efficient,” Comfort says. “This is when intermediate fibers need to be fired up to help maintain pace. Glycogen depleting and less fatigue resistant, these intermediate fibers don’t last as long as their slow-twitch relatives. For this reason, it is crucial to develop this middle ground to finish strong in a triathlon. If done correctly and with purpose and mindfulness (it’s a tough session), this workout does just that. This workout combines both speed and endurance by increasing the run intervals 1/4 mile each time, while aiming to maintain the same pace throughout.”

Best done at a stadium with stairs or bleachers, this workout could also be completed anywhere with stairs nearby. If it needs to be done indoors, a treadmill and a stair stepper machine would work as well. Depending on your fitness level and race goals, the track intervals may be done at a 5k or 10k pace. The key is consistency. The stairs engage many muscles including core, quads, hamstrings and calves, while also keeping heart rate up for cardiovascular benefit.

“This workout begins with slow-twitch muscle recruitment in the warm up, builds up to fast-twitch on the shorter track intervals and ends with the need to use Type IIa intermediate muscle fibers—which are a blend between fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers,” Comfort says.

RELATED: Ready to Become a Next-Level Runner? Take the Stairs

One-Hour Workout: Track + Stairs Run Strength Builder

Warm-up

800m as 400m easy, 400m 10-15 seconds faster

Dynamic stretching:
10x each leg, 2 rounds of front to back leg swings
10x each leg, 2 rounds of side to side leg swings
10x each leg, 2 rounds of walking lunge with twist
5x each side of crescent to hamstring stretch
10x each leg, 2 rounds of walking side lunge
3x each side of standing quad stretch with reach
3x each side of standing glute stretch
3x each side of standing IT band stretch and reach

Main Set

400m at 5k or 10k pace
4 minutes up and down stairs quickly (not recovery)
30 seconds recovery jog
800m at 5k or 10k pace
4 minutes up and down stairs quickly (not recovery)
30 seconds recovery jog
1200m at 5k or 10k pace
4 minutes up and down stairs quickly (not recovery)
30 seconds recovery jog
1600m at 5k or 10k pace
4 minutes up and down stairs quickly (not recovery)

Cooldown

800m jog or walk
Stretch as needed

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