It’s a question I get asked all the time: “Will doing some running (or other cardio) help my climbing performance?” Giving a proper answer demands some nuance based on the individual’s phenotype as well as their current level of climbing experience and fitness, and time available for training. (But in many cases, the answer is “yes”.) This fast-paced episode gives a scientific basis for helping you determine if doing some running could enhance your climbing performance.


0:14 – Welcome

1:00 – Introduction to “running for climbing”.

2:20 – The problem with training sound bites and memes…

4:32 – 4 ways that running (or other generalized cardiovascular conditioning, such as swimming, rowing, biking, etc.) can support a higher level of climbing performance

5:08 – #1. Research has shown that more cardiovascular fit climbers recover faster. This means greater recovery on marginal mid-route rests and faster recovery between boulders, routes, and exercises.

8:02- How your resting heart rate can be used as a measure of your cardiovascular fitness.

9:42 – #2. Greater generalized aerobic conditioning will improve stamina for long days of bouldering, climbing, training, and performing at elevation.

11:10 – #3. Regular generalized conditioning can help improve your body composition and increase your strength-to-weight ratio.

13:02 – #4: Running or other cardio has been shown to improve mental state, mood, and energy.

14:24 – Recap: 8 take-home points about running (and other cardio exercises) for climbing.

  1. Running will not improve your climbing technique/skill.
  2. Running will accelerate your recovery at mid-climb rests and between exercises and climbs.
  3. Running will increase stamina for long days of bouldering, training, and climbing.
  4. Running can help optimize your body composition, thus increasing your strength-to-weight ratio.
  5. Running can improve mood and energy.
  6. Running (or other cardio exercises) must be done at moderate intensity and duration. 2 to 4 days per week for 20 to 40 minutes each.
  7. Run on rest days from climbing, or as part of a 2-a-day workout schedule.
  8. Do NOT let your running (or other cardio) escalate to excessive amounts that create excessive fatigue or take away from climbing time.

20:20 –  Episode Sponsor: PhysiVantage Nutrition — Get 15% off full-priced climbing nutrition with checkout code: PODCAST15 (North America only).  Europe and elsewhere visit EPIC-TV Shop or to get your PhysiVantage!

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21:00 – Closing comments — Horst Out!

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Music by Misty Murphy

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Copyright 2023 Eric Hörst | Horst Training, LLC.

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