Saturday 22 December 2012

How to Build a Tyre Pull

If like me you live in a flat area of the country, you might find it difficult to train for running in the hills. Whilst I get out to hiller terrain as often as I can, it is useful to have a method for building up climbing muscles on a day to day basis. One possibility that was suggested to me was to use a tyre pull; running while pulling a tyre along the ground behind you to increase the resistance as you run. I thought it might be useful to anybody else looking to do this if I put up step by step instructions for how I put mine together. I hope these are useful to somebody! I used Marshall Ulrich's blog post as a starting point, but simplified things a little. But check out his post for a good run down of other reasons why running with a tyre is a great way to build up your training (despite looking a bit strange to passers by). 

What you will need:

  1. 1x Tyre: You should be able to get one from a local garage for free. They have to pay to get rid of them so shouldn't mind you taking one away. I got two; a big one and a smaller one. That way I can switch between the two depending on how much resistance I want.
  2. 1x Weightlifting Belt: I got a cheap one from Sports Direct for less than a tenner. Make sure you get a strong one with some padding, and make sure it is quite wide to provide adequate lumbar support.
  3. Thin Bungee Cord (about 4 ft): Available from any hardware stores. This should be quite stiff, but provides some give for when the tyre catches on things as you run.
  4. Nylon Rope (about 8 ft): Available from any hardware store. I just got the widest that I could find.
  5. 1x Carabiner: Available from any hardware store.  

A) Any old tyre will do. The bigger and heavier it is, the more resistance it will give you. B) Everything is connected together with a carabiner, with a length of rope going to the tyre and a length of flexible bungee rope going to the weight belt. C) A wide weight lifting belt is best to provide adequate lumbar support.

Putting Everything Together:

1) Put a hole through the center of the back of the weight belt. I used a drill for this, but a leather punch or screwdriver would probably do the trick. Make sure that the hole is wide enough for the bungee cord to pass through. Take care not to injure yourself when doing this. 

2) Next you want to tie the bungee cord through the weight belt. I used a Double Figure Eight Knot (or Bunny Knot), which I use in climbing to attach my harness to the rope, so it's pretty sturdy. Here's how to do it:

A) Tie a loose Figure of Eight Knot in the end of the bungee cord, leaving enough free to thread back through. B) Thread the end of the bungee cord through the weight belt (I had to use a screwdriver to force it through). C) Take the loose end, and thread it back up into the Figure of Eight knot, following the cord back up through the bottom of the loop. D) Continue threading the cord through the figure of eight, following the loop in the reverse direction. E) Eventually you will have a knot that looks like a double version of the one shown in A. F) Pull the ends of the knot tight. You can tie off the trailing end if you want but it is not really necessary. 
3) Next punch a hole in the tyre. Again, I used an electric drill for this, but it is quite tough to get through. Make sure that it is wide enough for the rope to fit through.

4) Repeat the instructions for part 2), threading the rope through the tyre and tying a Double Figure Eight knot.

5) Tie a Double Figure Eight knot in the trailing end of both the nylon rope (attached to the tyre) and the bungee cord (attached to the weight belt). 

6) Connect the two loose ends together using the carabiner.

How To Use it:

It's quite easy to use, and you'll instantly notice the difference to your normal runs. Just strap on the weight belt (making sure that it sits comfortably on your lower back), lay the tyre out behind you, and off you go! You'll have to lean into the run slightly more than usual (similar to how you take on uphills), so make sure to keep yourself as upright as possible and try not to lean over. Try to lean forward from your core rather than letting your shoulders drop. This will prevent causing any lower back problems from the increased pressure on your lower back.
What a drag. Sorry, I never tyre of that joke... 
I love taking mine through 'orrible wet and muddy conditions as it really acts as a drag under these conditions. As you run through puddles it fills with water and mud and you get a really unpredictable resistance training session in. My usual session involves running for about 5 miles through fields and woods, followed by doing some hill sprints with it on the small hill behind my house. You might get some funny looks from people, but you stop registering them after a while. I stopped caring about how stupid I look when I run a long time ago!

Anyway, I hope that this has been useful for someone, and that you have as much fun with yours as I'm having with mine!

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