Ronnie Delzer of Vantage Point Endurance offers advice for runners looking to maximize their training time through one of his favorite workouts, hill repeats. In addition to coaching, Ronnie is also a 2x USA Track & Field 100-mile Trail National Champion, so he knows a thing or two about the importance of a quality workout.
Add hill repeats to your training to improve leg strength, running economy, and to prepare for speed training. This type of workout will also give you confidence in a race when you approach a hill. It should feel quick and hard with a steady rhythm. The pace depends on the incline of the hill but aim for about 5k effort. Once you reach the top of the hill your legs may feel heavy and you will likely be breathing hard. Take your time jogging slowly down the hill or walking if needed to catch your breath and restore some strength in your legs.
Start out with 3 sets of 60 seconds up a moderate hill, take a few minutes rest after the first three and if you’re feeling good repeat the set of three once more.
Things to think about:
1- Keep your posture straight and don’t lean too far forward or backward
2- Shorten your stride, increase your footsteps, and quicken your arm swing to give you that extra momentum to reach the top
Be sure to listen to your body and don’t force things when you aren’t feeling it. Go by what feels natural and listen to the cues by being more in tuned with your body. Pay attention to the following areas to make better choices with your training.
- Does your overall effort level feel more difficult for a normal pace?
- Is your breathing off?
- Is your heart rate higher than average?
- Do your legs feel heavy and the responsiveness not feel natural?
Sometimes your body may need a longer warmup and will bounce back, but if not don’t hesitate to cut the workout short and focus on recovering. It may make better sense to try again later after a little more rest and time off. There could be a number of things that your body is trying to tell you (i.e. lack of rest, stress, poor eating habits, ill, over-training, etc.).
Ronnie is a Topical Edge athlete and can be contacted at Vantage Point Endurance.