Workout Wednesday: Hill Repeats
Every Wednesday we will highlight some training technique or a particular workout including visiting some local teams or clubs to talk to them about what they do. Today I want to focus on what I consider one of the most under appreciated and overlooked workouts in a distance runners arsenal, Hill Repeats. If done correctly they can make you stronger, faster, more explosive, and even improve your overall running form! Hill repeats can be done many different ways but all fall into 2 variations. Short Hills and Long Hills. Short hill repeats consist of finding a hill 4% to 7% grade about 100 to 150 meters in length. I know its very hard to know what 4% to 7% looks like so it should be steeper than the long hills we will discuss in a bit but not so steep you have a hard time walking up it not to mention running fast up them. These are relatively short and the effort last about 15 to 30 seconds so they are run almost all out. Lets say around 90% to 95% of an all out sprint. You are going anaerobic (lack of oxygen) meaning you should reach the top very much out of breathe. Run these but building up the first 10-20 meters then working to full speed. Focus on good uphill running form. Short, quick, powerful strides with arms a bit higher then normal and head in neutral position meaning facing straight forward. Eyes are key on these keep your eyes focused on the top of this hill not looking at the ground. This will keep your form intact and keep your mind focused on the correct effort. Near the top of the hill make sure you do not slow down but if anything pick up the pace at what we call the "crest" of the hill as it flattens out run through the top as it flattens out. This will prepare you for great racing strategy to blast past your opponents not on the hill itself but on the crest and right after. More on this in some racing strategy blog entries. Long hill repeats are similar to short hills but of course longer =-) I like to make these 400 meters but you can go with anything 300 to 500 meters. Much longer and you will lose the ability to run them correctly. Much shorter you will not gain the additional benefits of the long vs short hill repeats. Run these very similar to the short hills except your effort needs to be slightly lower about 85% to 90% with the first half a little slower and a pickup at the mid way point. Very much drive the last section and run over the crest with aggressiveness. While the short hills will give you true power and explosiveness overall not just for a finishing kick the long hills will give you power and speed endurance again not just in longer hilly courses but even on flat races. There is a mental factor to long hills that is often over looked. Push up a 1/4 of a mile hill faster than you will during a race will make kicking on a flat 400 meters seem easy or running any hill seem like just another day at the office! As far as number of reps that will vary but for short hills 12 to 20 while on the long hills 6 to 10 will do it for a great workout! Recovery for both is a slow jog back down the hill regroup for 10 sec once down and go again! Don't forget at least a 2 mile warm-up run at easy pace and 2 miles cool-down easy as well. Give this workout a try and provide feedback or ask question anytime! As always go chase those running dreams and enjoy!
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Coach Rojas has 11 combined years of coaching experience at various levels including coaching a high school D1 State finalist team and 3 years in a row of a top 10 state ranking. He is passionate of the sport of running and loves to see new runners take up the sport! He wants to share a lifetime of running experience to all