The Hills Are Alive…

My new favorite hill workout:

  • 10′ Warmup
  • 4 x 30″ hard not to exceed 95% effort /Easy jog return recovery
  • 4 x 60″ hard not to exceed 95% effort/Easy jog return recovery
  • 4 x 90″ hard not to exceed 95% effort/Easy jog return recovery
  • 10′ Cooldown

Effort is never 100% to avoid injury.  If you feel any injury/niggle start, stop immediately and walk.  Treating a niggle now with a day or two off from running may prevent weeks or months of no running later.

I tend to run a specific workout for four weeks.  Here is my progression on this block:

  • First week four of each.
  • Second week 6 x 30″, 6 x 60″, 4 x 90″
  • Third week 8 x 30″, 8 x 60″, 4 x 90″
  • Fourth week 8 x 30″, 8 x 60″, 6 x 90″

What grade of hill would I suggest?  You can compute the grade by dividing the elevation change in feet by the distance run in feet.  Google will compute your distance in miles to feet.

  • New triathlete: 4% or less grade.  Consider using the treadmill instead of an outdoor hill.
  • Intermediate triathlete: 4-6%
  • Advanced: Your choice.  I am using a hill right now that has a 7.9% grade for the 90″.

Form tips:

  • Lean into the hill from your ankles.
  • Do not bend over from your hips.  You want a line from the ankles to the head.
  • Look 5-10 feet ahead of you to a point on the ground.
  • Keep your steps short.  I like to focus a bit on my toe off which helps to develop my speed when running flat.
  • Drive the elbows back.  I tend to drive my elbows out.  To prevent this, I turn my thumbs out on my hands to keep the elbows close to my body.
  • If the arms move fast, so does the feet!
  • I use markers on the hill to keep my efforts consistent.  I look to exceed the markers as the weeks progress.

Eccentric work:

I have a training partner with an upcoming hilly 70.3 run.  On these intervals I have him go faster on the downhill.  Not too fast to impair his recovery but fast enough to emphasize the eccentric work.  This takes advantage of the repeated bout effect (mitigating soreness from repeated eccentric efforts).

Why do I love this workout?  The 30″ intervals prime the pump without driving my HR high.  The 60″ intervals work my legs and increase my heart rate to 10K race levels.  The 90″ are about learning to run on concrete blocks and get my heart rate to 5K levels with less risk of injury.  I get a bit of eccentric load on the return too.  Remember to monitor how quickly your heart rate recovers between repeats.  This is a great way to monitor your fitness as it improves.

There is no easy way but this will make your faster flat running “feel” easier.


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