Monday, August 13, 2007

Hill training and hill joggling

This week I'll be heading out to do some hill training with one of my personal training clients who is gearing up for her first half-marathon.

I'm a firm believer in using hill workouts to gain strength, speed and mental toughness. A good set of hill repeats can make you feel invincible.

There are many different combinations of hill workouts, but here's a typical one:

1) Find a fairly steep hill that's about a 10-minute warm-up jog from the starting point of your run. If you can track down a scenic hill with a couple of bends, all the better.

2) The hill should be at least 300m long, preferably 400m.

3) After your warm-up, start your stopwatch and begin the first hill repeat.

4) It's easy to burn out, so take 20 strides or so to get into the rhythm of the climb.

5) Take shorter steps, pump your arms and lean slightly forward.

6) Match your breathing rhythm to your strides and concentrate to keeping the effort even.

7) Near the top of the hill, as you begin to tire, focus on maintaining your form and think of your lungs as your engine and your legs as wheels. This should help ease the pain (a little).

8) Push yourself over the crest of the hill and stop your stopwatch at a specific sign post or marker, so you can duplicate it.

9) Jog very slowly back down to the start point.

10) Do 3-10 repeats.

11) Sometimes to mix things up I'll do five hill repeats, then five short intervals on a flat stretch of road, then one final hill repeat.

12) This workout can, and has been, done while joggling. In fact, I've done this while extra heavy juggling balls to simulate with the arms the extra power output done the legs going up the hill. And that, my friends, is a monster workout.