How to train on hills

Colin demonstrates exactly how to train on hills and explains why this type of hill training works so well.

If you find hill training daunting then watch our video where Colin demonstrates an enjoyable way of getting all the benefits of hill training without the hard work.

When do you put hill training into your week?

Once you have built up your Chatty running and increased your cardiovascular fitness then it is time to put in hill training. Hill training will build up your muscles and tendons. It is a good idea to make sure that you have done a few hilly runs before embarking on focused hill training.

Golden rules of hill training

Don’t get out of breath. This might surprise you! Chatty Sparkly hills is an aerobic training activity. It’s not about charging up hills as fast as you can.

When you lose form stop. This means don’t push on when your legs are tired. Tired legs are a sign that you have given your muscles enough stimulus. If you carry on after this you will start to run ragged, with poor posture.

Chatty Sparkly Hills

These are ten second Sparkles but done uphill! Concentrate on driving back with your arms, bringing your knees up a bit higher and pushing down more with your feet. You will not be out of breath doing a ten second up hill sparkle but you may feel it working your leg muscles. Make sure you have a two minute walk back down to recover before you repeat the hill Sparkle. Then run Chatty for three minutes before you repeat the pair of hill Sparkles. You shouldn’t lose form in ten seconds but if you start to feel tired then stop.

Steep Hill Running

With steep hill running you don’t travel as far up the hill. Instead take little steps, keep your head up and lean into the hill. Bring your knee high with each small step and push off the ground. Run for ten seconds as with a Sparkle and allow two minutes walk back recovery and a three minute Chatty recovery before repeating.

Doing some steep hill running once a week will build up your running muscles and make your tendons stronger. It also teaches you to run with a good sprinting action. After completing a set of up to six steep hill runs then go on to the flat and do a couple of ten send Sparkles here. This will then transfer the benefits of the hill running onto the flat. Steep hill running is also a good bridge between the Chatty base conditioning phase and the faster running that is the icing on the cake.

How often to do hills
If you are running four or five times a week then do a steep hill running session once a week. You may already be doing a fun Fartlek so why not put the hill Sparkles into this run. If you are running six or seven times a week then you can do two sessions of steep hill running and a Fun Fartlek.

Listen to your body

Be gentle and start off with four efforts of steep hill running and see how your body copes. You may be able to build up to being able to run ten or twelve efforts after four weeks. The secret is to have plenty of rest between the sets.

This type of hill running is something that can be enjoyed and it will make you feel faster as it recruits more muscle fibres to make your muscles stronger. You will be able to run faster on the flat as a result.

Join us next time to find out all about when to introduce harder faster running into your training week.

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