How to Run a Marathon
Hill Workouts

Below are two basic types of hill workouts.
The  first type is simply running up a long hill or a series of hills. The longer the hill, the greater the benefit. 

The other type is essentially doing repeats up a very steep grade ranging 200 to 400 meters. Both  workouts provide several benefits that you simply can't get while running on flat ground without putting extreme stress on the body.. Whereas, other workouts have focused on either the speed or endurance side of the running triangle; these workouts focus primarily on strength. More importantly this workout works on your Engine, the heart, and lungs.

Hill Workout #1.

The goal is to find a long hill and run up it. The workout can be broken up into several long grades or one ultra long uphill. It really doesn't matter. For the adventurous type, this can be a point to point type run where most of the run is up hill.

For Run/ Walkers, the hill may be too much to run most or even any of it. No matter! Use whatever walk/run ratio you need to get through it. If you have to walk the entire time, that is ok also. Try to keep a steady pace. The pace should be slightly above talking pace. Whereas, in a normal easy run you should be able to talk to your fellow runners. In this run, you should be focused on breathing. If you are halfway up the hill and you can talk then you are not working hard enough!

At the same time be careful not to work to hard! If you are gasping for breath and going into severe oxygen debt, then you are running too hard! It is important to find the right balance.

Make sure the hill isn't too steep. A Bicyclist should be able to ride up the hill.. Unless you are running a point to point course, chances are you will have an equal amount of downhill. Keep in mind it is pointless to run hard down a hill in a workout. Occasionally you may want to work on your form. But other than that, save your energy for running uphill.

The goal of this run is to run at a sustained pace with out slowing down at the end of the hill. If you are slowing down dramatically, try to adjust your pace in the next workout. Since you are working out different muscles, there is no need to work too hard! The main goal of this workout is to increase the amount of time the heart is beating near max rate. This helps to run a faster sustained pace  when running on flat ground.

The trick to going up hills is to try and make sure you center of gravity is balanced. There should be an ever so slight forward lean. There is more information on how to run uphills. Click on this link. (Running Uphills

This is where your upper body comes into play. Make sure you drive those arms. ( Note at the same time it is important to keep the arms as relaxed as possible. This will help your vertical lift in your legs, however, to keep balanced, it is best to have shorter than normal stride).

This is a good workout to practice mental focus. It is extremely easy as a runner to check out for awhile in the normal course of training. Detachment is a normal part of running. In fact, I encourage this in the Base training phase and easy runs. Many people take this to an art with their I pods and other listening devices.

In this specific workout, it is time to practice focus. So put away the I pods or other distractions. Don't let your mind wander during the uphill portions and try to focus at the task at hand, which is getting up the hill in a strong yet relaxed manner. This is a vital part of the exercise. . A focused mind helps one get to the finish line more efficiently.

Hill Workout # 2.  

In this workout, we are doing a cross between a Hill workout and a Speed workout. The concept is straightforward. Try and find a hill anywhere from 200m to 500m long. The steeper the better.Each interval is at a sustained pace.  At the end of each interval, the goal is to be in complete oxygen debt. 

Before the workout begins it is essential to warmup for at least 2 miles with a light run.  The number of intervals varies from person to person. This is basesd on a number of factors to consider, such as the level of conditioning, the length and steepness of the hill, and where one is at in their training. TA good staring point is somewhere around 10 repeats. One way to help determine the length of the interval, is when you get to the top or to your finish point, you should be breathing very hard and your legs should be almost wobbly. It is best to do a very slow jog or walk back  down the hill. Once you are full recovered then do the next interval. Remember to work on pacing. The last interval should be within 10 percent of your time as your first interval. It is also important to do a proper cool down.

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