I suppose that my love for stairs began when I lived in NYC. Each day I found myself up and down through the masses of people riding the escalators through the subway system. I always wondered why they didn’t just walk. As my friend, Jay Blahnik says “The escalator is not a Disney ride!”. I personally loved the feeling of racing down the long staircases and catching the train while the drones rode on. I often tried to squeeze in one breathless, anaerobic climb each day.
When I moved to San Francisco, I found the beautiful Lyon Street Steps, which became one of my favorite spots in the city. (3 blocks flower scented garden stairs, overlooking the water.) I trained most of my clients there, and became proficient at stair climbing; nimble, fast and light as a feather. Each week I’d run stairs for nearly an hour – disappearing into my music, rhythm and breath. I began climbing in Nike Frees and then barefoot or in socks. This became my “secret weapon” training tool for my marathon training program, since proper stair climbing method assists coordination and muscle memory for a forefoot-run technique.
These days, at sunrise, and mile-high altitude, I run stairs with the mobility and traction of Vibram FiveFingers® (Bikila LS, and SeeYas, my favorite models.).
It takes willPower to face flights of stairs, and decide to race to the top. As I see it, getting to the top always requires focused dedication, commitment and practice. I’ll be stair-climbing for a lifetime, I imagine.
Upward: stand tall, weight over hips, core engaged, eyes forward – whenever possible. Land on forefoot, as lightly as possible (float!)
Downward: stand tall, weight over hips, core engaged, eyes forward – whenever possible. Land on forefoot, at the edge of the step and use toes to “flick” the stair away. Breaths should be fluid and deep. “the exhale’s where it’s at” – Michael Franti