Spring Hills Bring Summer Thrills: 3 Run Workouts to Improve Your Running

Looking to run faster and stronger this summer? If so, then now’s the time to follow up your winter base training with important hill work. Running hills in the period before your race-specific training will build strength and improve your ability to overcome the challenge of gravity on a hilly race course. Even if your next race doesn’t include hills, developing greater muscular power in these months before will help improve your running economy. This means you will be able to run faster while using less aerobic energy both on hills and on flat terrain. The following three workouts are designed to do exactly that. But before you head for the hills, make sure that you have built an appropriate aerobic base. Skipping that phase and leaping into high intensity hill work will increase your risk of muscular-skeletal injury.

Workout 1. Power to the Hills

These force intervals are best performed on steep hills to improve leg strength and power.

  1. Start with 15-20 minutes of dynamic drills and a progressive warm-up building from Mio zone 1 (50-60% maximum heart rate -- MHR) to zone 3 (70-80% of MHR) during the final few minutes.

  2. Find a hill of at least 10% or set the treadmill to 10-15% elevation.

  3. Perform 3-5 repeats lasting 60-90 seconds each. Don’t worry about your heart rate intensity as the main goal of these intervals is force and strength not aerobic. The duration of these intervals may be too short to cause a heart rate response. Your perceived effort should still be high however at what feels like zone 4-5 (85-100% effort). Walk or jog easy (zone 1) back down the hill between the intervals. Ideally we want an enough rest to fully recovery between the intervals.

  4. Continue to cool down with an additional 5-10 minutes of light jogging or walking on flat terrain.


Workout 2: Lung & Leg Busters

The main purpose of these high intensity intervals is to increase maximum aerobic capacity also known as VO2 max.

  1. Start with 15-20 minutes of dynamic skills and a progressive warm-up building from Mio zone 1 (50-60% MHR) to low zone 4 (90% of MHR) during the final few minutes.

  2. Find a hill between 6-12% or set the treadmill to 6-12% elevation.

  3. Perform 4-5 repeats lasting between 2-4 minutes each. If you are using a heart rate monitor then target the higher end of Mio zone 5 which starts at 90% of maximum. It’s important to note that your heart rate will lag during the first few intervals and the first minute of each subsequent interval. Go by your perceived effort while your heart rate catches up. Keep in mind that these are challenging at near maximum effort. Walk or jog easy (zone 1) back down the hill between the intervals. Allow enough rest to fully recover between the intervals.

  4. Continue to cool down with an additional 5-10 minutes of light jogging or walking on flat terrain.


Workout 3: Hell on Hills

The primary objective of these threshold intervals is to raise your run pace at lactate threshold (LT). These intervals are performed at an effort near race intensity or slightly higher for an event that will take approximately one hour for an experienced runner. The duration of the intervals can vary in length from a few minutes to as long as 20 minutes or more.

  1. Start with 10 minutes of a progressive warm-up building from Mio zone 1 (50-60% MHR) to zone 3 (70-80% of MHR) during the final few minutes.

  2. Find a hill between 6-8% or set the treadmill to 6-8% elevation.

  3. Perform 4-5 repeats of 5-6 minutes each. Target Mio zone 4 (80-90% MHR). These are challenging yet sustainable at the effort that feels close to 10K race pace. Jog 1-2 minutes easy (zone 1) back down the hill between the intervals.

  4. Continue to cool down with an additional 5-10 minutes of light jogging or walking on flat terrain.


Written by Duane Franks, Owner and Head Coach of Trifiniti Endurance Performance Coaching. Learn more about Duane and Trifiniti Endurance Perfromance Coaching at www.trifiniti.com

 

 

 

 
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