What is Skyscraper running?
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The latest craze to hit the UK is Skyscraper running. It’s said that climbing stairs could be better for your fitness than running. So if you’re looking for your next fitness challenge, why contain yourself to a muddy obstacle course or HIIT workout? Skyscraper running is seriously hard work, but good for core muscle groups and it's something that you can even train for in the comfort of your own home.
Across the UK and indeed the World, you can join events challenging people to run (or maybe walk!) up thousands of stairs massing many floors in the name of exercise and charity. Some of the races include running up the 1576 steps of the Empire State Building, or racing to the top of the Eiffel or a London Tower. If nothing else – it sounds like a great way to see some great places around the World!
In the UK, the charity Vertical Rush has been up and running for over 10 years and has recently raised £3000 for a homeless charity Shelter by bringing in over 12,000 eager participants to run London’s Tower 42. As the charity is taking off, even some celebs are giving Skyscraper running a go including Calum Best, Gabby Allen and Kimberly Wyatt.
So, if you’re used to half-marathons or triathlons, why would you do this?
Like other exercises and classes these days, it focuses on burning a lot of calories in a short space of time and giving you that burst of high-intensity exercise. It’s said that you can potentially burn the same calories as jogging, but in half the time. Not only that, but it’s perfect for toning the lower muscles in the body, legs and definitely the glutes (you’ll feel it most there the day after!). Another benefit to running up stairs rather than on tarmac is that it’s lower impact – so better for your knees and other joints.
Stair climbing combines toning, fat burning and cardio into one workout. You can find stairs in lots of places and they’re free! So you don’t need a fancy gym membership. However, if you are a serious athlete, it could improve your performance in other sports like athletics and triathlon as well as test your limits if you’re getting a bit stale on that 10k jog.
But what’s it like?
There is no denying that a few minutes in, you notice that it isn’t the same as climbing the stairs at home when you nip back upstairs because you’ve forgotten something. Once the burn comes, it gets surprisingly hard very quickly. If you’re a professional athlete you may find that you’re able to take the stairs pretty fast and maybe even take 2 at a time, but use the handrail for guidance and try to take the turns quite tight.
Mentally it’s also a challenge. When you make the decision to run 10k or take a swim, you have scenery and distractions. Skyscraper running is looking at drab walls and not seeing much daylight or fresh air. So maybe take some music with you to help with the rhythm and beat of the steps.
The bonus however is that it’s over pretty quickly! Around the 432 steps of London Tower can be conquered in around 10 minutes if you’re in good shape. Finally, to finish – you will have the feeling of accomplishment and to say ‘I climbed that’ and admired the view from the top!
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