“It’s all about the vert” is a common catch phrase for those training for hilly ultras. But is doing lots of vertical all you need to do to perform well in an ultra with large amounts of ascent and descent?
With the popularity of training software like Strava it is easy to compare the amount of vert you do each week with others and get swept up in a more is better thought process.
But the whole idea that the more vert you do the better your performance is analogous to the idea that the more running you do the better your performance. Whilst high mileage is a factor most of us agree its what you do with those miles that count just as much if not more as the amount of miles.
So why is vert any different? Surely it is how you get that vert that will have more effect on your race performance than the total amount of vertical.
Is all vertical the same?
Does hiking uphill give you the same training response as running uphill ?
Does running uphill help with your hiking speed uphill?
Does running easy downhill load the legs the same as running fast downhill?
Does running down technical terrain load the legs as much as running down fire-trail?
Does running down fire-trail develop your technical descending skills as much as running technical descents ?