I have spent years on and off exploring running as a supplement to my personal climbing. I have led out what i Learned, so you can decide wether running will benefit your climbing.
Does Runnng Help my Climbing? No, climbing and running are both very different activities and the benefits from Running as Climbing training are much less prominent than specific climbing excersises.
Its not fair to give a complete no, climbers will actually benefit from some amount of aerobic activty in a few circumstances. its just not the most effective way to get good at climbing.
I saw no developments in my physical climbing ability, HOWEVER we all have different requirements and weaknesses and for some of you, the answer will be a yes!
Let me develop and explain when your climbing can be benefited by running.
Whats covered in this post:
- Running Adaptions
- Climbing Demands
- Arguments For and Against
- Endurance training for climbing
Lets start by analizing the physical and mental adaptions that come from consistent running.
When you begin running for training, your lower half will have some hypertrophy as your body adapts to the new stimulus of running.
This will make your left heavier and increase the circulation too them. Having stronger legs isnt a bad thing for everyone, especially if you lack the strength to fully rely on your legs when possible in your climbing. (can you one leg squat?)
Your lower core, the intercostals, lower abs and obliques will all be strengthened from the rotation of your upper body while running and the increased rate at which you must inhale and exhale.
Next, Since you have been stressing your cardiovascular system, your heart will actually get bigger and stronger too! This means your lungs will increase in capacity as your cardiovascular system develops and becomes more efficient.
This development of the Cardiovascular system WILL benefit your climbing to a certain extent. unless your already doing a good amount of aerobic there is some benefit you will get from training your cardiovascular system.
For climbers this will mean being able to uptake and deliver more oxygen with each breath. This can help Sport climbers with there ability to delay getting pumped on aerobic sections, and there efficiency in recovering at rests. Very beneficial.
For Boulderers this will mean you recover much faster inbetween your attempts. The ATP-PC system relies on the aerobic system to regenerate, meaning your maximum power is dependent on your aerobic system.
Running will prompt more oxygen to your brain, allowing it to form new nueral connections. So you could say ‘Running makes your brain stronger‘ AND the great wolfgang gullich said the brain is the most important muscle for climbing. Maybe we should all run.
Running also minimises stress hormones and increases endorphins. Stress hormones can seriously destroy your climbing ability because they inhibit the bodies recovery and adaptions.
If you are stressed a lot and your trying to train a lot you run the risk of overtraining and becoming completely fatigued as your body wont recover properly.
Since running can positively impact your stress levels you may decide to run as a addition to climbing, to maximise your recovery and mental wellbeing.
Running also has the effect of improving ones self respect and confidence, maybe due to the fact your consistently putting yourself in a potentially uncomfortable position.
This can be a huge development in your life. not only effecting your climbing and running but impacting the very way which you interact with the world.
I certainly noticed I became more accountable in my periods of running which is HUGELY valuable for navigating life, and getting $hi7 Done!
Now we have a brief understanding of the adaptations from running, lets look at the demands for climbing, and see where they overlap, for potential cross training benefits!
Climbing is MUCH more than the physical, there are equal parts Technique and Mental required for climbing.
Physically climbing demands a lot of the body, but we are mostly lacking the strength in the upper body not the lower.
We usually fail because we got pumped, scared or missed/ couldnt hold the hold.
While we all have deficiencies in all aspects of climbing, we usually experience them through our forearms falling.
Running can Positively impact out climbing by increasing our cardiovascular fitness, allowing us to have more aerobic endurance and recover better at rests.
Mentally we need to be confident, calm and able to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
This is where i think running helped me most, it improved my ability to be uncomfortable and increased my accountability for training.
No one talks about the mental benefits because there probably impossible to measure or quantify, But i must talk about it.
climbing movement is so technical and specific you really cant train it by doing anything other than climbing.
technique usually demands; Precision, Timing, Momentum, Controll of Forces and so on, and none of these can be developed with running.
Climbing is so specific of a sport, very different from running in terms of demands, movements and even mentality.
So if you are here because your looking to improve your climing, consider doing some more specific activites.
Climbing will allways be the best investment of your time, and this is where you will also get the most gains.
Why run when you can do actually climbing endurance laps and get the additional benefit of refining your movement and mental state. You might even enjoy it too!
Arguments For and Against
The climbing community is in divide about running for climbing, and while i personally dont think its of value to me right now, there are some arguments for running id like to discuss here.
Running can be Efficient for Weight optimisation, meaning if you enjoy running, its a favourable approach to managing body fat.
Running reduces stress hormones, proper recovery is critical for climbing performance, and an overly stressful life can severely impact your ability to recover. Running can manage this.
it Strengthens the cardiovascular system, meaning all your endurance activities will get a boost from your running adaptations.
can help recovery through the raised heart rate and increased blood flow.
The development of your total lung capacity can positively impact your stamina, and ability to keep climbing for the whole day, which means more climbing time, and a better climber.
Running makes your legs heavier, so your power to weight ratio will also go down. your power to weight ratio determines pretty much everything in your climbing. It Dictates how far and how powerful you are, how soon you get tired ect so its a pretty big deal to reduce the ratio.
its nothing like climbing meaning the progress you see in your running will not have any distinct benefits in your climbing.
The time you spend running could be spent on a specific climbing excersises. doing your aerobic training on a climbing wall will have distinct developments in your endurance, because the endurance is needed in your forearms not your legs.
‘Jack of all trades’ if your trying to excell in your climbing and your running at the same time your body will be stretched too thin to give anthing but a mediocre in each discipline. plus you may risk injury if your not getting enough rest and nutrition to suppourt both.
Stamina for Climbing
Do you often feel you lack the stamina for climbing? you can only climb a route or two before your completely done?
If your looking for how exactly to train your Stamina for climbing, please look no further, I have compiled the essentials for improving your stamina.
How do i train Stamina for Climbing? Stamina in climbing means multiple bouts of effort over a longer period, like a day of climbing. Training your lung capacity and Vo2 max through running or climbing specific methods will increase your stamina. To Maximise your stamina you also need to make sure you are properly fueled up on carbohydrates before and during the time period you require it.
Training your stamina for climbing depends on what you want to achieve, you should ‘train as you perform’. If you want to be able to climb more in a day and not get tired: Simply climbing more in a day or doing periods of high volume low rest will be perfect for developing your climbing stamina!
Additionally training your stamina for climbing can be done with running! To improve your stamina, try running for 45 to 2 hour runs twice into your week to increase your ability to engange in sustained efforts in climbing.
If your looking to increase endurance in the forearms, you dont necessarily need stamina, you would benefit more from doing endurance training simular to your goal. Consider trying traversing continually for 10 minutes for 2 to 3 sets.
But thats for another post!
Alright everyone weve come to the end of the post, thanks for joining me, i hope you found this helpful!