Are you a hill lover? If yes then you are miles ahead of me in the training world. I have never been a fan of hill running, but then I have lived only in flat areas since I started running, and subsequently hills hurt me and feel a distinct lack of energy whenever I see or approach a hill.
But hill training is an important tool in developing your cardiovascular and muscular system and subsequently becoming a more efficient runner. In order to make myself more comfortable in running hills as part of a race, I will need to run more hills. Never the easiest when living in a flat area, but bridges, stairs and little inclines will have to do for the hill repeats I desire.
There will be three levels of hill workouts that I m aiming to slowly integrate into my training, with the focus on them being after my first Ironman, as I do not want to upset my current training schedule set out by my coach who already suffers enough from me changing the training schedule on a regular basis.
Level 1: This is the easiest level with it being just about endurance, mental training and learning to run efficiently. Find a hill, jog up slowly at a nice and easy pace and try and keep you heart rate down. Basically try and enjoy yourself on the way up.
Level 2: This is the middle of the ground; also know to me as the long-hill repeats. This is a good way to improve your muscular and lung system without overloading your body and making your suffer for days afterwards. Find a hill with 5-7% incline and run up it for 60-90secs, not flat out, but faster than your normal run pace. Walk or jog down to bring your heart rate down and repeat up to 10 times. Or if you like me, start of a little less and build up over time. But keep in mind that doing this kind of workout does not necessarily mean that your will become a faster hill runner. But it will make you feel more comfortable at running hills in the long term.
Level 3: This is the one level I dislike; the short explosive sprints up a hill that simply hurt. But yes they are effective, as they increase your ability to deal with your high heart rate, and making your body run as efficiently as possible. Find a steep hill, and I mean a steep hill, and sprint for 15secs up it. Imaging your going flat out for a 100m sprint. Take a full 2min recovery period, and walk down to the start again; then repeat this as often as you can until you find your are significantly slow that your first sprint uphill, to a maximum of 15. Be warned …. This might hurt.
Just keep in mind that hill training alone will not get you through your first marathon or make you a world-class athlete. Hill Training is just a part of your training regime. Doing Hill Sprint will improve your cardiovascular and muscular system, improve your mental believe that you can deal with any hills thrown at your, and improve your overall running ability.
Let see how well I can implement this myself.