This is our final workout in the series of short-fast hill reps designed to give us the physical and mental tools to love running hills. On this occasion we use the hills as a stimulus to create great running technique and power before doing short bursts of tempo running.
HOW TO LOVE HILLS: PART 4
4 sets of:
[2×10 seconds uphill fast (jog back down)
2mins at 1-hour race effort (on the flat)] 3mins jog recoveries
Terrain: Moderate hill.
The hill reps are kept short so that they can be nice and quick—up into your sprint range. They form the “aim” part of the workout where you’re dialling in great technique and getting all your muscle fibres firing.
The tempo runs are also short to avoid this session becoming a true endurance workout. They form the “fire” element where we are taking those good lessons applied in the hill sprints and transferring them to the flat, rhythm running of a tempo.
On the surface, this workout looks very light: short, 10-second hill reps followed by short two-minute tempo runs (at a pace you could hold for 60 minutes). However, the hill reps are designed to be FAST (not all-out, but definitely sprinting) and then immediately rolling into these tempo runs to flush out the fatigue of the hills. So the combo of the two is actually surprisingly challenging.
After each hill rep, jog back down to your start point. Make sure you’re fully recovered between each set.
The location for this session is important. We want a moderately steep hill (6-12%) near a flat section where you can safely do a 2-minute tempo run.
For those new to hill running, be sure to keep the 10-second hill efforts in your running range, not sprinting.
Finally, this workout is somewhat lighter than the typical session we do in Workout of the Week, so we’d encourage the regulars to include an additional session in your week of a 20-minute tempo run.
THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:
EFFICIENCY vs EFFECTIVENESS: ARE YOU LIMITING YOURSELF?
By Hayden Shearman
Many of us get into running because of its endurance aspect. Our bodies and minds just seem to be suited to going and going. This is an efficiency game. However, focusing just on efficiency, and neglecting effectiveness, with our running can be a massive trap. Let me explain by comparing cars.
The Toyota Corolla is synonymous with efficiency. It goes and goes and doesn’t suck too much gas—much like your typical jogger. The Ferrari on the other is the epitome of effectiveness: fast, flashy, but costs a LOT—much like your typical creatine-crushing gym junky. So, is there some middle ground?
Now, I’m no car guy, but it seems like Tesla has struck the optimum balance of effectiveness and efficiency. And, in fact, its effectiveness (the technology it using) seems to not only compliment but also to help boost its fuel efficiency. And it’s this synergy between effectiveness and efficiency that is the Holy Grail when it comes to running.
I often talk about the fact that runners who focus only endurance and aerobic development typically sacrifice their athleticism, which in turns makes them slower, which motivates them to do more miles to compensate with increased endurance, which reduces athleticism … and so the cycle continues.
Alternatively, if you can include some regular work on effectiveness (which includes all those aspects that make up athleticism like power, strength, mobility, technique, speed and so on) then you’re in a much better situation to maintain your body’s ability to handle mileage and keep your easy and long run pace a smaller percentage of your max pace (which will also reduce wear and tear on your body when running longer distances).
This week’s workout is a classic example of what effectiveness might look like in a running session. And it can also be maintained in the gym, on the yoga mat and in the playing field.
Moral of the story: stay athletic and you’ll stay effective, which will enable you to be as efficient as possible for as long as possible.