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Discussion Starter #1
Just wanted to start a thread to gather general opinions on hill training...

What benefits to people feel they get from hill training?

Also which method of hill training do people tend to do? I mean do people run hard uphill then jog slowly down for recovery? or continue a steady pace throughout? Same hill? Hilly course?
 

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Not very technical, but an observation from me. I only started about 6 months ago so I've gone throught the 1 mile, 3 miles, 6 miles type progress but have seen progressive improvements in that time. In the beginning anything more pronounced than a firm mushroom would almost bring me to a stop but as I've got fitter I've noticed that I don't fear the hills like I used to. It's not particularly hilly where I live but I still notice the inclines.
 

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Well... I can't go without hill-training in Sheffield by virtue of the fact that... well the damn place is built on 7 hills or something. My longer runs cover 3 pretty steep hills, all in the last half of it heh, but I tend to try and get up them pretty quickly, but not so quick that I couldn't finish the run... it just depends how I'm feeling at the time. In the summer I have a trail run that's about 3.7 miles which is up and down constantly, and I pushed myself a lot more on that one, and found that my fitness improved a lot quicker than when I ran the more flat route.

Also I've read in numerous places that hill training is a good way to do boost your fitness quickly whilst decreasing the chance of injury... but then downhill increases the chance of injury - it's tempting to run as fast as possible downhill, cuz it's easier and you get better times, but the thumping can be bad for your joints, so I try to be reasonable heh.

Apologies for the specifics :p
 

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Living in Cornwall I cannot avoid hill training. I do two sorts.

1. Run a hilly course trying hard on the hills - recover going down hill.

2. Structured hill reps - run hard up and jog down. I have a long hill and a short hill and tend to alternate each week.

At the moment I am experimenting with substituting steps for hills. These sessions seem to be great at building strength and speed.

I think hillls are a great way to improve speed and endurance with perhaps less chance of injury than doing fast sessions on the flat.
 

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Specific hill training is as Edward says in number 2... Structured hill reps - run hard up and jog down. Generally anything from 10 to 15 'ups'.


I used to follow schedules with speed sessions in them but I can honestly say that I have never gained anything from speed work. When I stopped the speed work and switched to specific hill training my times came tumbling down.

I've come to believe that the reason that I never got anything from speed work is because of my asthma, my lungs simply couldn't keep up with the supply of oxygen to my muscles.

But my body responded to the hill sessions, put strength in my legs and allowed me to run faster on the flat.
 

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richardsimkiss said:
Just wanted to start a thread to gather general opinions on hill training...

What benefits to people feel they get from hill training?

Also which method of hill training do people tend to do? I mean do people run hard uphill then jog slowly down for recovery? or continue a steady pace throughout? Same hill? Hilly course?
I live in the bottom of a valley so every run from the cottage i do starts uphill.

When i first started to run again i used to find the inclines a nightmare ,but i can honestly say although i was slow at first i would never let the hill beat me ie i never stopped and walked up.

As i've progressed i seem to be able to run the first two thirds of the hill and then power up the last third .

I don't do any specific reps

One downside of this is that when i do race i have a tendency to go out a bit too fast
 

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I do hard run up, jog down reps, and feel the main benefit is in strength of running. When I encounter an uphill section in a race I feel have athe strength in my legs to really get back into stride quickly once things level out again.
 

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I do a 60 second *steep* uphill run at 8.5mph, then jog/walk back down, but not allowing the rest period to go over 3minutes. Repeat this as many times as you can.

It works the calf muscles over a longer range and the downhill will gently improve the dorsi-flexor muscle which is the cause of the burning stiffness on the front-outside high bit of your shin just under the knee, that muscle there. Poor dorsi-flexors will cause shin splints.

It's also good for the heart and will greatly help build stroke volume.

It won't make you any better at running further though, but strength is great. It also releases those lovely running drugs that make you feel like you've had a hard run!

I also use hills when my legs are stamina-tired since there is less shock on them on average and it stops them going into the long-run fatigue state I still seem to suffer :(

Hills rule! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So in your opinions, hill repeats are superior to a constant effort over various hills?

I have done both methods in the past and have often wondered which is more beneficial in the long run - I'm sure the repeats are better for general strength building, and a constant effort would better replicate a race situation, in particular that you need to keep going once you've hit the top, which I'd imagine would help prepare you psychologically come race day?

I guess it's the same with most things in life, the more you think about it, the more you're able to make an essentially simple/basic concept overly complicated!
 

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richardsimkiss said:
So in your opinions, hill repeats are superior to a constant effort over various hills?

Not really, it's a different kind of training for different outcomes.

I substitute most of my speed training for specific hill training because it's what works for me to make me faster.

I still run hilly routes too to build endurance
 

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richardsimkiss said:
Also which method of hill training do people tend to do? I mean do people run hard uphill then jog slowly down for recovery? or continue a steady pace throughout? Same hill? Hilly course?
I usually do the run hard uphill and jog back down as a speed session, I feel they help build power in my legs in a way that squats/leg presses in the gym can't.

I also run over hilly, cross-country routes for one or two of my other runs every week and accept that I will be slower over the distance than on a flat course.
 

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I've been using these hill runner workouts i found online at mytreadmilltrainer.com. Awesome guided workouts that'll really give you a challenge.
 

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intriathlete said:
didn't seb coe used to do reverse hills as a recovery session.

Run DOWN the hills - so you get the benefits of running whilst at the same time keeping a low heart rate and WALK back up as recovery
Seb would have used running down hill to increase his leg cadence, but not for strength obviously. And it wouldn't be a massively steep hill either.
 

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To give you an idea of what I used to do before I came to Swansea,

I had a short run which had up to 7 hills of varying lengths and gradients, I would usually put 21-28 hill reps into the run. Each hill had completely different charactoristics and I could break the hills down into parts too. For example the hill to home was 1/2 mile long and I would break it down into 3. In the end I was able to get faster through each rep. They generally lasted between 40 and 120 seconds of effort with a jog/ walk down with most lasting around the minute mark. In the end I was able to take 15 secs on average off per 75 secs of running up hills. And because I varied the hills then I could take on any hill with confidence

It started with me doing 2 reps of each hill and increased to 4 by the start of the season.
 
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