Auguston Stairs - Video and Training Tips
I decided to shoot some video of the stairs yesterday - one trip down and back up, in real time, so you all can see what they're like. You can see the video on our YouTube channel here.
The stairs are very physically demanding, don't get me wrong, but they are also a bit of a mind game, and the mind game may be even more important than the physical training. Your brain may tell you to quit (a lot!), especially once you start doing more sets. For me, the first four trips or so are mostly physical demands, the next few are more mental, and the last couple are really both.
I almost always want to quit around number 6 it seems, but I haven't yet! This past weekend was the hardest to push through that, because I was doing the stairs solo. I could easily also have stopped after 8, because my family was at the top of the stairs waiting for me, but I was committed to doing 9 trips, and I wasn't going to fail myself by quitting early.
Being able to push through that mental barrier of "this is really hard, I don't know if I can finish" and discovering that you will rise to the challenge if you keep pushing is a really important lesson, not just for Spartan training, but for life!
- Do be respectful of the neighbourhood, and drive responsibly / keep the noise down when you arrive and leave, particularly if you park at the top of the stairs.
- While you can park at Tom Thomson Court and be only about 150m or so from the top of the stairs, I actually prefer parking at the trailhead near the entrance to Auguston, walking in to the bottom of the stairs (maybe 1.5 km?), doing our work, then walking back out. Finishing with a descent instead of going up just felt better, mentally and physically, and the walk out was a nice cool-down.
- Bring water if you are doing more than 4 or 5 trips. Even in cool weather, I sweat buckets on the stairs! We usually leave our water bottles at the top of the stairs while we're working, and haven't had any problems. This past weekend, I wore my hydration pack instead to better simulate how I'll be doing the Spartan Beast.
- Be careful with your footing on the way down, especially if the wood ties are damp!
- I take the tight corners two steps at a time on the way up instead of shortening my strides, and try to straight-line the really windy bit as much as possible
- I alternate between going up one trip standing tall and sitting back to use my glutes more, and the other leaning forward more and even pushing off of my thighs with my hands to emphasize quads more. Load sharing FTW!
- Do plant your entire foot on each step as much as possible to minimize the strain on your calves - they'll get enough work as it is without being really stretched out as well!
- Build up to a bigger number of trips up and down the stairs gradually - we started at 4, and worked up by one trip per week.
If you're interested in training with us, get in touch!