HILL training

25 03 2010



Hill training is an important part of any Marathin or Ultra Marathin training regardless of the terrain you are planning to run during the race.

Hill training is not just to run hills better.  The big part of Hill training is alot like speed training on flat surfaces as it teaches the body to continue to function in oxygen depratvation to the muscles. 

I like to have a warmup of at least 20 minutes, 3-4 km at an even Steady Pace and then attack the hills.  generally it is best to start by doing 2-3 repeats, meaning you get to the base of the hill and run up it at the same effort you have been running.  Not the same speed but the same effort.  you will see your heart rate spike pretty quickly towards your maximum.  I generally get my heart rate to 85% of the maximum or so….158-170 beats per minute.  Turn at the top and jog down allowing the heart rate to slow.  you can also walk down if necessary and then do it again.  after your hill repeats jog back for a 2-3 km Steady Pace to cool down.  Do this weekly by increasing the number of hills  until you reach 10 hill repeats.  Make sure your next day is a recovery run at a steady but average pace so your body can heal from the workout from the hills.  I generally incorporate the hill training into weeks 7-14 of a 20 week training program with one day a week.

You will see results.  You will feel stronger on your regular runs and you will become faster.  You will be able to maintain faster speeds as you will have improved your VO2 Maximum.  you will have increased your lung capacity and your bodies efficiency in getting oxygen from the blood.

Another reason we do hills is that the down hill has a huge impact on our quadracep muscles in the front of our legs from absorbing the braking motion of our decent.  It is for this reason i mainly have incorporated them into my training.

My race will be in the Mountains of Grand Casche Alberta, so hills are inevitable.  For this particular schedule hill training will be a huge part of what i do.  I am approaching it a bit differantly as i am aiming for a differant goal.

The way i am doing hills now at week 1 of my final 19 weeks training is to incorporate them into a longer run.  I currently run about 3 km to warm-up and then do 3 hills within the next 2 km, then run 2 km and incorporate 2-3 hills and so on until i get 18 km in then i run back 2-3 km to cool down.

Yesterday i incorporated 7 hills in my 22 km run.  These hills were short, from 100 M to 350M on side paths of gravel up the bank from the river im running.  My quads were screaming and my body completely fatigued.

I am doing hills this way as i am trying to let my body understand that during the Death Race i will not only have to climb massive hills in the race but i ll need to be able to climb and decend them and then keep going, for many more miles.

While running such a long race, 125 km, i am aiming to keep my heart rate way down to 65% of maximum.  these hills ( we call them mountains back East) will drive my heart rate up to its Maximum, and tehn the down hills are so harsh that it will batter my quads and knees.  My body will need to learn to recover quickly and my heart rate drop back to that 65% as soon as possible or i will deplete my gycogen stores in my body.

Over the next 8-10 weeks as the race approaches i will be increasing this hill training, to get to 20-30 hill repeats on this 21 km mid week run.  I will also be training every couple weeks on just hills.  up and down as many BIG hills as possible.  Not only do i want the VO2 increases but i want my quads to get use to the heavy pounding those 2000-3000 foot decents will give me.

In order to condition my quads i will be incorporating at least 1 session a week of Squats and Lunges in the gym.

Do hills!  You will be very thankfull, as you go steadily past others during the race who are struggling up these hills!




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