Fort Edmonton Footbridge Halfpipe- After running almost 2,000 kilometres over the past year, I need to switch up my training. With almost a year until the next Really Long Run to End MS, I have the opportunity to explore some different types of training; training which will hopefully elevate my conditioning and make next year’s run easier. One of my running routes takes me over the Fort Edmonton Foot Bridge and the other day I had an idea near the end of a run. Instead of just heading up the steep path immediately to the west of the Foot Bridge and out of the River Valley, I decided to head up the to the stairs you can see to the north west of the bridge. 200 stairs later, I realized that it was a dumb idea at the end of a run. However, I though it may be a great idea to utilize the stairs and the path to the west of the bridge as a circuit.
On Sunday, I gave it a go.
I drove to the little cul-de-sac at the end of Whitemud Road (which is the closest access point to the Fort Edmonton Footbridge). I parked, stretched, and then lightly jogged toward the bridge. As I looked north-west toward the stairs and then directly west to where the path cuts up the hillside behind the trees it occurred to me that running back and forth and up and down between the two was kind of like the half pipes that snow and skateboarders use. Up one side and back down; up the other side and back down. Rinse, lather, repeat. It also occurred to me that riding a skateboard on a half pipe would likely be more enjoyable.
I had no idea what distance I would cover, but my goal was to successfully go up both the stairs and hill five times each while running at a decent pace between the two. It was a little cooler on Sunday (about 14 degrees Celsius when I reached the bridge), so I felt like it was the perfect day. My watch has GPS, so I turned it on and started the route. I discovered that from the top of the stairs to the top of the hill is just over a kilometre. I also discovered that there are 200 stairs to the top at roughly a 35-40 degree incline (it gets steeper near the top). Those stairs are steep. My guess is the hill is about a 30-35 degree incline, so it is tough as well.
The goal of reaching the summits of both the stairs and hill 5 times each was met. The first few laps weren’t easy, but they weren’t a struggle either. Sometime during lap 3 I could really start to feel what I was doing and started sweating hard. I think I could have done another lap or two, but judging by the persistent and never ending burning sensation in my calves today, I probably stopped at the right time. I don’t typically get burning muscles in my legs the next day anymore, so I know it was a good training session. My goal is to eventually be able to cleanly run five cycles between the stairs and hill. I will definitely have to put in some time to get there, as I had to walk a few times my first time out, but its possible by the end of summer.
Anyways, here is a snapshot of the first workout:
- 11.5km covered
- 1,000 stairs climbed (2,000 if you count going down, which I don’t)
- 1:51 of running, climbing
Below are pictures of the route I took. I’m not suggesting you attempt this, but if you do, check with your doctor first!. Also, if you are an MSer with balance issues, I don’t recommend the stairs as they are very steep.
Until next time,