You should have raced at least twice during the last six months, and be enjoying 10 mile runs plus quality fartlek sessions prior to bringing hill reps into your life. Ease this muscle strengthener into your 10K running schedule. Youíll gain muscle strength, a stronger heart and better knee lift with hill repeats.
Provided you stayed at Phase One long enough, and did sufficient mileage, you should have taught yourself how to run hills within training runs and fartlek sessions. It is now time to replace some of the hilly courses with hill repetitions. Find a fairly steep hill, but a hill which you feel reasonably comfortable running up...three to four degrees, or a three percent grade works well for most runners. Steeper hills do give you faster rewards, but they place greater strain on the Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Youíll need to use 100 to 1,200 meter hills for these sessions. Use a 100 meter section to begin hill training. Run one third of your planned mileage for this day as a warm-up; do your stretches. Then commence the first of say ten repetitions by running: up the hill with a high knee lift and sprinters type arm action. The legs should not be going too fast...the emphasis is on lifting the knees higher than in normal runs...but landing softly. Land closer to your toes than the heel of the foot...midfoot is ideal. You will run more like a sprinter in these sessions than at any other time. Pick a focal point close to the top of the hill; it helps prevent you from leaning forward. Run perpendicular to the surface in hill repeats. Walk back down the hill for recovery, and stride up it again. Land softly if you run back down the hill. For your next effort, try shorter, quick strides. Run a variety of styles to practice knee lift, legspeed, full calf extension and arm movement. When you feel tired, or cannot fully recover in your rest period, stop. You can run more reps in future sessions. After running the hill session, warmdown thoroughly to relax your muscles. Hold back on the first session. 80-90 percent effort is all you need to develop your leg strength and cardiovascular endurance--avoid stressing your muscles too much. Lower leg tissues, the quadriceps and other hip flexors (which lift the thigh), the hamstrings, and your back may still be sore...gentle stretching should clear these aches. Do take care of the Achillesí. The second time you run hills, try about eight repetitions of 200 meters.
The entire training session should feel no harder than your 3 miles of fartlek running. You should not take 2-3 days to recover from these sessions: you should be able to complete a long run in comfort the day after a hill session. If you canít, you did too many hills, or you did them too fast for your current fitness level. If you are already comfortable with hill repetitions, you can increase the quantity of reps and the speed. Always aim to run hills faster than in a 10K race. Exaggerated arm movements powering you forward, and up the hill or sand-dune is fine for hill reps. But when you move on to Phase Three and Four keep your arms under control. Reasonable Hill Training Limit? 25 reps of the short hill section is about right; 10 or 12 of the long section may be its equivalent. 10 minutes of actual hill reps works best for most, or up to 5 percent of your weekly miles. Meanwhile, add a rep or two until youíre on the hill for thirty minutes--including the recovery sections.
Alternative Resistance Training. Running into the wind can make a session of two hundred meter strides harder; youíll gain more fitness. Run 200-600 meter fartlek efforts into the wind. Run an occasional stride with the wind for relaxation, while working on your form. Ask yourself: Are the knees up high enough to give a full stride? Are the calves and foot hugging the hamstrings and butt...to reduce the pendulum swing? Are you using your ankles and calves to the limit? Do your shoulders roll because you donít use the arms much? See the form hints at week 2.
Day one: 10-12 mile easy pace run Day three: easy 6 mile run Day four: one to two miles of hill running, plus warm-up and cooldown gives you 7 miles Day six: easy 7 mile run Days two, five and seven: rest Total mileage is 30-32
Day one: 10-12 mile easy pace run Day three: one to two miles of hill running, plus warm-up and cooldown gives you 7 miles Day four: easy 6 miles Day six: Fartlek for three miles. Total 7 miles Days two, five and seven: rest Total mileage is 30-32
Running more than 30 miles per week? Keep the long run at 30 percent of your mileage; 15 miles is sufficient for 10K racing. Keep your fartlek session at 10 percent of your mileage; keep your hill reps at 5 percent of mileage.
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