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I know it depends on your training aims and goals etc......but, if it was a busy week etc and you could only fit in one session, what you gain more from; an interval session or some hill repeats?
 

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For improved aerobic capacity intervals are great. As for hill reps I don't use them for this because they are not as effective as intervals for aerobic capacity due to them being less specific to running (i.e. how often do you run up steep hills constantly).

The idea that many say is hills increase strength endurance which is a fair call, although a recent conference I went to an expert on hamstring biomechanics argued that the adaptations are not specific to improving speed due to there being less hamstring activation. However I don't think this address the overall picture. Personally if you want to increase strength a way more effective way is strength training. This has been shown consistently to aid distance running performance via improved running economy.

Therefore I don't see a major place for hills, however i have been known to use them during general conditioning sessions with team sport athletes. Plus if you cant afford to go to a gym then they could help, but would not be as effective.

So my answer based on what i think you want to achieve = intervals :)
 

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I've always looked on hills as free extras, eg if you live in a hilly area and end up running on hills most of the time, you will naturally improve faster and get stronger than someone who mostly runs on the flat. Also, there's a technique to running uphill / downhill well, which, if you practice it, will help you out on hilly races

I've never tried hill reps, so no idea how they compare to intervals.

Slats, I'd suggest you alternate between one week with intervals, one week with hills, or include some hills on some of your regular runs
 

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We've had this come up before... and I guess it depends on the individual to some extent but for years I persevered with speedwork/intervals etc and I can say with hand on heart that I didn't gain anything much from it in races.

I got fed up with putting myself through that for nothing, dropped speedwork and switched to hill reps intead

Almost immediately I started to gain from it. Within months I was getting PBs, and that first year after the switch I got a PB at every race distance.

I swear by hills now... love em :)
 

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Am doing Scores route in training Tuesday...5 hills..well climbs and 407 steps, not all up though.

Then it's off to the mountains for that little race on 26th.


Glad you're back on course Trin.
 

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I don't think something can be deemed as less effective at improving aerobic capacity because it's something you don't do a great deal in races? Running hills gets the cardio system, as well as leg muscles, working overtime! I know I can certainly hit higher heart rates 'more easily' by running hills than on intervals. Seb Coe ran a LOT of hill intervals - yet I can't remember seeing him run up any hills on the track ;)

In my opinion, intervals for specifically working on improving speed, hills for improving strength and overall fitness. The two combined will be a great addition to your training schedule to work towards you main of becoming a better runner.
 

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I don't think something can be deemed as less effective at improving aerobic capacity because it's something you don't do a great deal in races? Running hills gets the cardio system, as well as leg muscles, working overtime! I know I can certainly hit higher heart rates 'more easily' by running hills than on intervals. Seb Coe ran a LOT of hill intervals - yet I can't remember seeing him run up any hills on the track ;)

In my opinion, intervals for specifically working on improving speed, hills for improving strength and overall fitness. The two combined will be a great addition to your training schedule to work towards you main of becoming a better runner.
Fair point, although you cant refute the fact that hills are not better for strength development than strength training? Also specificity of training is fundamental to performance. Yes running hills means you can hit a high HR without as much speed as a flat run, but why is this better than running flatter at a faster speed? The biomechanics of running up a hill are very different to running flat therefore when working on aerobic capacity this comparison could cause greater fatigue in the muscles and reduce the volume of training you can do at this intensity (i.e. you are fatiguing yourself peripherally e.g. at the muscles, when in fact the target of aerobic training is to fatigue centrally e.g. the cardiorespiratory system)

I do agree that if you cant strength train hills are a good substiuite, however for other aspects of training they are not.
 

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I agree with you elev8... if you want pure speed, then hill training probably isn't the best option, and strength training will also be very good at improving leg strength.

Generally though, if someone improves their leg strength, chances are their speed will also improve :) If I ever get to a standard that requires it, I'll be sure to read up on the subject further :d
 

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Generally though, if someone improves their leg strength, chances are their speed will also improve :) If I ever get to a standard that requires it, I'll be sure to read up on the subject further :d
Correct :)

Also it will improve endurance via improved economy, that seems strange to many but strength is a product of neurological variables not muscle mass. Therefore greater strength without an increase in non functional muscle mass = greater strength endurance. Couple that with specific strength endurance training that is sport specific and multijoint and your laughing all the way to the finish line :d

Unfortunately most running communities have got infected by the bodybuilding culture and poor fitness coaches, which are not focused on sport performance. That has resulted in many myths and misconceptions :rolleyes:

P.S

I see you went to Cov Uni, me too, I spent 4 and a half years there, graduated with my BSc hons Sport and Exercise Science degree in November 2006 and am graduating with my MSc in Exercise Physiology this Thursday! Also I work there as a strength and conditioning coach to the universities elite athletes.
 

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Interesting! I wonder if I've ever unknowingly seen you in the sports centre? I was there until June 07, I was doing a masters in Product Design. I wasn't really into running when I started at uni, but boy I wish I could turn back the clock and study some form of sports science!

Congrats on your Masters Graduation - try to stay awake in the Cathedral ;)

Back onto topic(ish) what running specific strength endurance training would you suggest would be a good starting point for forumites? (including myself :rolleyes:)
 

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The programme has only just begun at the uni so you wouldn't have seen me or the new equipment bought :d

Its very difficult to say what you should do before screening you for functional movement and technical ability. As a basic rule I would suggest doing free weights only and not machines (with the exception of cable column machines), this produces greater results as the weight can move through more planes of movement in comparison to fixed range of movement machines. Finally to do workouts that use multi joint exercises, not isolation single joint exercises (i.e. do back squats, bent over rows etc, but not bicep curls etc). Look to do 2 sessions a week, this will give you the benefits without taking away too much time from running.

I could go on forever but so many things are individual specific, as I said this is a far cry from bodybuilding and personal trainers.
 
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