Hill Training For Runners

Posted on: December 3 2014 / Written by: Brett Lunger

Hill training should be an integral part of any serious training program, for both runners and cyclists. This blog will focus on hill training for runners.

Cyclists will use hill workouts differently. Indeed, by varying the structure of the workout (length and intensity), the cyclist can achieve a variety of training objectives. Because of this variety, we will cover hill training for cyclists in separate blog.

As with anything, it is important to understand your objective before beginning. Your objective for hill training is to gain strength and confidence.

You need to find a moderate grade, preferably where there is little vehicular traffic, of between 50 and 200 meters in length. Mark the start and end point. If possible try to find a stretch of road where there is a peak and mark your end point just beyond that peak. This is important. The end point must be ten to fifteen meters beyond the topographic peak. (see my earlier blog for an explanation of this)

Cross your start point at a comfortable pace, slightly faster than your normal running pace. Hold that pace to the end point. This is a strength building exercise. You want to be thinking “strength” not “speed.” Try to maintain form from start to finish.

This hill interval should take between forty five and ninety seconds. Circle back at an easy pace. You want full heart rate recovery. (Wearing a heart rate monitor will insure precision on all of your workouts; more on that in another blog). When you first start hill training, opt for the shorter length.

The first time you do this workout plan to do four repetitions. You want to feel progressively more tired on each one, but you do not want to be so wasted that you cannot maintain form and pace on the last rep. Maintaining form from start to finish is important. As you gain in strength, you will be able to increase your reps to six or even eight.

Be sure to allow recovery days after hill training. Doing so will maximize muscle adaptation and will insure that your next hard workout will be productive.

Remember that your objective is to build both strength and confidence. As you become stronger, you will become more confident. (See my earlier blog, “What is Hill Training?”)

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