Below are two basic type of hill workouts.
The first is simply running up a long hill or a series of hills. The longer the hill the greater the benifit. The other type is essentially doing repeats up a very steep grade ranging 200 to 400 meters. Both workouts provides 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. In addition, by incorporating hills workouts into your training regime there be a marked increase your lung capacity.
In Base training only focus on Hill Workout #1. Keep the workout relatively easy. In the workout stage the goal is press on the uphills and drive yourself into oxygen debt for extended periods of time. In Base training you may have to breathe hard, but you shouldn’t be completly speant at the top of the hill
Hill Workout #1.
The goal is to find a large hill and run up it. The workout can be broken up into several long grades or one ultra long uphill. It doesn’t matter.
Make sure it isn’t too steep. One should be able to ride a bike 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.
So keep it easy on the downhill portions of the run. In fact, an easy loping run is the best. For those focusing on how fast one runs an entire workout, one word of advice.. Don’t. If you are running your 7 mile hill run at the same time as your 7 mile flat run, then you are running too fast on the downhill.
The goal of this run is to run at a sustained pace without slowing down at the end of the hill. If you are slowing down dramatically, try to adjust your pace in the next workout, so this doesn’t happen. Since you are working out different muscles, there is no need to work too hard!
One trick when running 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 up hills by clicking 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 the vertical lift in your legs, however, to keep balanced; it is best to have shorter than normal stride.
During your Hill workouts, it is good 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. But in this specific workout it is time to switch it up. It is time to practice focus. So put the I-pods away or other distractions you may use. Don’t let your mind wander during the uphill portions and try to focus on 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 can help one get to the finish line more efficiently. The goal of this workout is to be focused and yet still relaxed.
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 as long as you can do continuous running. Each interval is at a hard sustained pace. At the end of each interval, the goal is to be in complete oxygen debt.
First it is essential to warm up for at least 2 miles with a light run. There isn’t a precise number of repeats. This will vary from person to person. There are too many factors to consider, such as the level of conditioning, the length and steepness of the hill, and where one is at in their training. The goal would be somewhere around ten repeats. One way to help determine the length of the interval, is when you get to your finish line, you should be breathing very hard, and your legs should be almost wobbly. Afterward walk back down the hill. Once you are completely 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. Also, make sure to do a proper cool down.