Runners and Their Workouts: Wen Hsiao Chiu – 3 Pillars of Ultra Trail Training

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In this space, we will share the key or favorite workouts of our running friends and provide all the Runivores out there some training tips. Run with a smile, of course, but be ready to take on some pain!!

Wen Hsiao Chiu fell in love with mountaineering and camping as a teenager, and only began trailrunning in the past few years, but has since risen to the upper echelion of the Taiwan running scene. His specialties are super long races, especially in high altitudes. This week, we invited Chiu to share a few training tips, which I’m sure will be beneficial to all of us as we plan out our training schedule.

Recent results:

2017 was both a fun and legendary running year for Chiu. Known for his prowess in high mountains, he went to Hong Kong in early 2017 and placed fourth at The Hong Kong 4 Trails, a self supported 298km ultra. He is the youngest runner to complete this challenge. He then traveled to Tennesee, USA for the infamous Barkley Marathon. Although he did not complete the race, he became the first Taiwanese runner to attempt the Barkley, which many consider the toughest race on earth. He also competed against the world’s best in Columbia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and China.

  • Donhai Grand Canyon 50km, China 2nd
  • Sky Ercyes Ultra Sky Trail 64km, Turkey 1st
  • TDG Finisher, 2016

 

 

3 Pillars of Ultra Trail Training by Wen Hsiao Chiu

 

  1. Hill Repeats(both on road and trails)

We joke that trail running is really just one long interval session in disguise. You kill yourself going uphill then try to recover on the way down or on flats before tackling the next hill. In the first half of 2018, I participated in two vertical races so I scheduled several hill repeats leading up to the races. But I think hill repeats will be a regular in my training cycle moving forward. It’s such a good way to bang out elevation gain and really stimulate your cardiovascular system.

  1. Fatigue Training

I’m probably one of the worst when it comes to rest. The mountain always calls out to me. I don’t schedule any rest days, not even after races. However, after really long and tough races such as the Hong Kong Four Trails or TDG, I will take a day or two off. My excuse for this “foolishness” is that I specialise in longer ultras, so I need to be able to summon the endurance and mental toughness to keep running during the last third or quarter of a course when I’m bombed, and fatigue training such as back-to-back long runs are great ways to simulate this type of situation.

I’m also a big believer of active recovery. Going on a fun run the day after a big race or tough workout can help speed up recovery. However, I have to point out that I might be a special case, and I strongly recommend beginners to hold off on fatigue training, and wait until you gain more running experience and understanding of your physical capability.

3. Overnight Training

The races that I do often require 2-3 days, which mean running on no or very little sleep. I don’t recommend overnight training, since it’s extremely taxing on the body and mind, and could affect your ability to complete future workouts in the training cycle.

I still do it once in a while though, but I don’t treat it as a workout. I usually combine overnight training with a self-challenge adventure. For example, I have always wanted to summit the so-called “Four Spicy” (four 3000m+ peaks in Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range) in one go, so earlier this year I gave myself the challenge to bag them in 24 hours, and as a result I got in some overnight training. Otherwise, during a training cycle, I believe in just focusing on the workouts to fine-tune my body. (Overnight training is typically day > night > day. I don’t count it when it’s just running at night)

 

 

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