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Workout of the Week: Rob Krar’s ManMaker

This uphill suffer session helps build strength, fitness and confidence.

This uphill suffer session helps build strength, fitness and confidence. 

In the ultrarunning world, Rob Krar is known as a man amongst men.

The 5-foot-8, 130-pound Canadian has made himself into one of the sport’s most feared racers over the past two years, training in the high altitude environs of Flagstaff, Ariz., a place he’s called home since late 2005.

RELATED: Rob Krar’s Ultimate Advice For Ultrarunners

Oft-injured as a track and road athlete earlier in his competitive career, the 38-year-old Krar—who is self-coached—told me a few months ago that, “Fundamentally the biggest change I made [since turning my focus to the trails and ultrarunning] was taking my easy days easy and having focused hard days. There are really no exceptions to that…I have a couple of key workouts I do, but I don’t do a lot of them. You’re looking at max, one every seven days. Maybe I’ll fit two in 10 days, but I think back when I was doing roads, I was doing two workouts and a long run every week. That’s kind of a staple of road running. That’s a big difference. That’s a lot more workouts when you add it up over a month-long period.”

Logging most all of his miles on soft trails at elevations of 7,000 feet and above, one of those key workouts Krar does when prepping for a big race is an uphill suffer session he likes to call The ManMaker.

The hill workout, which Krar recommends you do on a continuous 6-8 percent grade of relatively smooth trail or fire road that doesn’t force you to backtrack, is preceded by 20-30 minutes of easy running on flatter terrain and 4-6 x 20-second strides. After warming up, run uphill for three minutes at a hard effort, followed by 90 seconds of walking or easy jogging for recovery. Now repeat this sequence seven more times for a total of 8 climbs at a hard effort. Krar suggests cooling down with at least 20 minutes of easy running.

“This is a true strength, fitness, and confidence builder and it takes a lot out of me, mentally and physically, each time I hit it,” says Krar, who last completed this workout on Nov. 26 at the Mt. Elden Lookout Road in Flagstaff. “I believe strongly in race-specific training, maintaining strengths and targeting weaknesses. I generally reserve this workout for the 8-10 week training block preceding a race and might hit it once every 2-3 weeks depending on the race I’m training for and other various considerations.”

RELATED: How Rob Krar Won Western States