Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hill Training

Running Techniques

There are a variety of training methods and drills that are effective in improving aerobic capacity, endurance, speed, strength, power and help with injury prevention. Most of these training methods are not recommended for beginners due to the risk of injury and are recommended for intermediate to advanced runners with a good mileage, endurance and muscular strength base.

Hill Training

Purpose: Hill training for runners will increase muscle power, muscle strength and speed. It also increased VO2max and increases the lactate threshold.

Target Muscles: strengthens hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, gluteal muscles and Achilles tendon.

How: For longer runs like the half marathon hill runs should be done for 60-90 second intervals at a 5 to 8 percent gradient. First warm up with a 15 min or 3km slow run on flat surface then incorporate a few intervals of hills (First time hill runners should start with a lower grade and do 3 intervals and each week increase the number of intervals until at 9 intervals). Run the hill with proper form for 60-90 seconds, and then slow your run down for 2 minutes on a flat surface to recover. Repeat until all intervals are completed and finish with about 5 to 10 minutes 0r 2-3km of a slow jog cool down to help flush out the lactic acid. This can be accomplished outdoors or on a treadmill.

*I am comfortable and see results when I train at an 7 percent grade for 90 seconds with a 2 minute light jog recovery on flat surface.

Half Marathon: The half marathon hill training begins at week 5 of a 16 week program and is done once a week for about 7 weeks, prior to speed training.

Physiology: hill running improves speed and strength and thereby power (speed x strength = power). This occurs because when running uphill the leg muscles are required to work against resistance and have to recruit more muscle fibres than they would have to when running on a flat surface. The more fibres that are recruited the more muscle will be developed and more muscle means more strength and more strength means more speed and ultimately more power. In addition to recruiting more muscle fibres hill running requires the muscle fibres to contract more rapidly.

Note: Hill training should only be performed by those who already have a good base of leg strength, and therefore not recommended for beginners. This is because hill training puts a lot of stress on the muscles and joints and if not well conditioned can result in injury.

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