Introductory Hills

During this introductory phase the hill work will be approach from two different angles. It is important to remember this phase of training is get my body ready to handle the next phase and isn't necessarily about having me race ready in a few weeks.

Short hill sprints is my intensity session. This consists of a thorough warm up, followed by some up hill drill work that focuses on establishing a full range of motion (high knee lift, full toe off extension), plus some mild plyometrics. Then its a handful of short sprints lasting 7-10 seconds each up a very steep hill (12-20%). Recovery is an easy walk back down and maybe some extra time. The point of these sprints isn't to absolutely hammer myself. Instead, I should feel ready to do the next repeat, aiming develop power and speed up hill. This cannot be achieved if I am grinding through the session. The next section a few down hill repeats. These will take roughly 15 seconds each, are down steep uneven terrain with the goal of relaxed speed. In between I power hike back up. All up the mileage is low and really unimportant. Time wise it falls somewhere between 40-60 minutes.

The rest of my hill work is simply incorporated into my other runs. It is a matter of putting a very strong focus on technique over other considerations. Over time, due to a mixture of hamstring injury and other issues I have developed some poor habits when running up. The body is good at being lazy and doing what it thinks will protect itself right at the moment. It doesn't take the future into account. At the moment if I don't concentrate I fall into a bad habit of tilting my pelvis and rounding my back that reduces the contribution of the hamstrings and glutes. That doesn't improve my running much. So obviously I aim to make sure I that I am properly engaging those muscles. Added in is an extra emphasis of ensuring I have a strong and fast toe off, which definitely increases the intensity at the moment but should make big inroads into my conditioning over a few weeks.

At the moment I am still a long way off where I want to be in running over hills. It is not a quick fix and will take a concentrated effort to get there, but the process is under way and I am happy with my initial progress.


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