He’s the ultimate all-round athlete. Short, long, flat, technical – Jon Albon has proven that he can do it all. With no coach and no professional training plan, Albon has developed his own rock-solid training philosophy and even designed his own skyrunning workouts. Here, one of the world’s most talented and technically-skilled skyrunners tells us his favourite workout to prepare his mind and body for the demands of a skyrace.
Jonathan Albon. © Ian Corless / MRSWS
Skyrunning is a raw discipline of running that is far more natural and has far less boundaries than other more conventional forms. There are therefore many more different skills and traits for an athlete to work on in order be a successful skyrunner.
This results in training being more varied than for traditional running races and can be drastically different from athlete to athlete or even from year to year. To pick just one workout to improve your skyrunning is therefore pretty tough.
To invent a session that closely represents many of the skills required in skyrunning is a good idea. This way you can practice many of the skills required as well as condition your body and mind for what it’s in for.
1000m in an hour (or as long as it takes)
This workout is incredibly simple. Find a big hill or mountain and run up and down it as many times as required to reach 1000m ascent and descent. My goal is usually to match the terrain and gradient of the mountain or hill to that of the upcoming race. If it is a steep wet boggy race with big climbs, find a hill to match. I usually try to make it between 5 and 10 reps to meet the 1000m, so a hill of at least 100m is preferable.
This workout is best used to benchmark where your fitness is so you compare in the weeks to come by running the same session, prepare you for the specific terrain of a race, find the weaknesses you can work on and allow you to test gear and fueling in a race-like workout. There are many other sessions that will specifically improve your ascending and descending, which can improve your results in this workout and a skyrace, but putting all your work together into a workout like this prior to the big day is a good idea.
As in a race try not to start too quickly, pace the effort and keep track of how long each ascent and descent takes. The descents should get quicker as you learn the hill and you find a better flow down. Try not to let the ascents slow too much as you tire and practice all the techniques you have been learning during other workouts.
The most important thing with any training session is to not injure yourself. If you tape your ankles for races, do it for this workout too. If you feel any unusual pains that you think could turn into an injury, stop and assess how it feels.
My personal goal with this workout is to achieve the 1000m in under an hour but simply completing the workout as quickly as possible (without going to absolute max) is as good a workout as any!
You can check it out here on STRAVA.
Good luck and enjoy your skyrunning prep!
Jonathan Albon. © Joao M Faria / MRSWS