Hill training


I'm doing the South Devon Coastal marathon on 23rd February, and from the course profile it looks like there's about 1000m of ascent over the course. Obviously some hill training is called for. Trouble is I don't really know what to do- all the hill sessions I read about seem to be quite short and intense, but is that the best thing for a marathon? Would it be good to put some hill reps onto the end of long runs?

 I live in London, but there are a few hills nearby. In addition, I may be able to get to Wales or the Lake District for a couple of weekends before the race.

 Any advice gratefully received!


  • Hills, yes, hard to run round here without running up loads of them. You could try running up the stairs in a tower block, or hills on a treadie or cross trainer maybe.
  • According to RW this month the hill training is SUPPOSED to be really intense ten second bursts of hard work. Apparently it developed speed, stamina and a higher lactate threshold(it says here).

    Anyway, after my fantastic weekends results (first 5k on mill, first 10k on the real ground, well, okay, 5 1/2 miles) I took yesterday off and then hit the hill work today.  I did seven or eight really hard ten second hill bursts, hard enough to almost have me on my knees, followed by a quick 1 1/2 mile run.  I have to say condsidering it was a short run I came back absolutely shattered.  Mind you, and to my great surprise, even with the hill bursts I managed to cover the course in less time than I have ever achieved before.. 

    Most of my training runs include some fairly agressive hills so I would say I agree that hill work is probably good for a marathon training scheme. It seems to be so for me anyway.


  • I would have though that some ideal training ground for the South Devon Coastal Marathon is ..... the South Devon Coast! this may be quicker to get to than the Lakes and I thing that running up Lakes hills is not only too steep and long for the terrain that you'll come across, but it is alot of driving for a walk (if you don't need to walk up the hills then you have no need for more hill trainingimage) in the hills.

    I think that you'd be better off going to S Devon and then you could train on the same route that the race runs along and get a proper feel for where the hard bits are going to be.


  • I agree with Colin! I'm doing the Exmoor Coastal Marathon in April so I'll be getting in the hill training too.

    I wouldn't bother with the quick burst hill training, as you need your legs to experience prolonged efforts up long hills. 

    On my 20 mile long runs I'm going to head down to the actual route. This will get me used to the route, so less hasty map checking on the day. It will also get my legs used to the actual hills and I'll know where they are on the course, so pacing will be a little easier. Plus it's a great little escape from London life on the weekend!

  • Mix it up. Long runs, long runs where you look for all the hills you can, short reps. Specific training on the terrain would surely be best, but your bread and butter training is bound to be pretty local. So you might have to get stuck into rep sessions. I have one where I can get off road in a couple of minutes then a loop of about 6': 90s climbing, traverse along the top, drop down steeply, along the bottom, repeat ad infinitum/however long you've got/till you lose the will to live image

    Seriously though, you might have a low point on the marathon, so a bit of mental training in the bag is all to the good. Weekend runs on the Downs? Hills every week though I think image

    Is there much navigation? Try and memorise what you can, getting lost/checking the map can be a bit wearing mentally. Good luck!

Sign In or Register to comment.