OK, I'm in the middle of a My Asics 10k plan. I'm doing the "Getting Faster" stage and for a few weeks it has me running 2 x Fast 5k a week. It also has Intervals scheduled once a week and a slow recovery jog.

And it's really working and I've been really pleased with my speed increase. I'm now down to a 25:19 5k in training and hope to get a confirmed time via parkrun of sub 25 by christmas.

Anyway our local parkrun is actually a cross country course. I'm a run director there and we are only on week 7. And I ran it for the first time this week. And the hills nearly killed me! My calves were sore for 3 days afterwards, despite a cool down jog and stretching.

I clearly do not do enough hils in training. I want to fix it.

I'm doing Pyramid High Intensity Intervals.

5m Jog
30s Sprint
1m Jog
45s Sprint
1m Jog
1m Sprint
1m Jog
1m30s Sprint
1m Jog
1m Sprint
1m Jog
45s Sprint
1m Jog
30s Sprint
5m Jog

We have a nice long tasty steep hill nearby. If I simply do the interval session up that hill, would that be beneficial?

In the process of typing this up I'm sure it is.

But the question is, should ignore the time of the jogs, and just jog to the bottom of the hill? Or should I still jog the 1 minute back down the hill then turn and sprint back up regardless of how far down I actually get?

I guess the other way to ask it is, is it more important to focus on the speed and gradient sections, allowing more time for recovery? Or keep the recovery sections the same in order to maintain the intensity?

What would be most beneficial?



  • Just find a more gentle but steady gradient hill around 400m long, you dont want anything too steep and go up and down that for hill repeats is what ive been doing , when I get to the top I turn round and jog easy for 10 secs then stride down and when I reach the bottom I have 10 secs easy again then back up, 15 mins total effort on the actual hill .If 10 secs isnt enough you are going too hard image

    Id try for a decent effort up concentrating on getting your running form right rather than a sprint though or it will be too hard work .image

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Taking aside the training points, your quickest route to a sub 25 park run might be to find a gentler course!!

  • Another thought, if it's 'your' local PR why not run the route and do a few intervals on the actual hill?

  • DT19 - Ha ha - already all over that - Missus' family live in Basingstoke and we'll be there at least twice beofre the end of the year for a much flatter mainly tarmac route!

    Leslie - Good point about concentrating on form and injury avoidance. Have you found your technique to be beneficial in gaining speed?

  • The hill session seems a bit over complicated. Find a longish hill that's not too steep. Rup up it and jog recovery down. 

  • Run up hard so that you can finish without fading too much at the end. Jog down so you get your breath back before the next one. try to keep the efforts fairly even. Forget about HRMs, forget 95% this and 70% that and forget about silly terminology. Running hills are simple sessions complicated by fools. Do them once a week and reap the rewards. 

  • Ive only started the hill repeats 3 weeks ago so its too early to say yet  as I have the same issue in that my local parkrun is all hills so the near continuous effort I listed above will benefit me (eventually) though obviously much easier coming back down again .

    Any hills will make you stronger just up to you what way you do it ,if you jog down, stride down etc , theres no rest interval in my parkrun so I dont have one in my hill work.image

  • You may have only have been doing them 3 weeks Lesley but you seem to have the right idea. And your advice was spot on too. 

  • A tip I read but omitted in my training for a negative incline Marathon was change (say)  1 in 3 of your hill reps from incline to decline so jog up and run down (there is an art to running downhill quickly and it uses a whole different set of muscles).

  • Hey, who are you calling good intentioned?image

  • twatty intentions but a good runner?

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    Andi McGill 2 wrote (see)

    A tip I read but omitted in my training for a negative incline Marathon was change (say)  1 in 3 of your hill reps from incline to decline so jog up and run down (there is an art to running downhill quickly and it uses a whole different set of muscles).

    I'd be careful with this.  Downhill running is good for, er, getting used to running downhill fast, and for quick leg turnover, but it's quite a pounding especially on the quads, and can be problematic if you've got any niggles around knee, hip or ankle joints (so pretty much anywhere really!)  If you do any downhill running quickly, do it on grass.

    An alternative to the hill reps is a less structured hilly fartlek where you just run over a course with a variety of hills, run hard up each one, jog recovery down, and steady on the flat bits.  If possible vary the slope/length of hills, using the steeper ones to run up on your toes.  This will do as much to improve your toe-off and calf/quad strength as improve things like VO2 max, which is better served by fast running up longer, gentler slopes.

  • Understood Phil, got the info from a Hal Higdon plan and yes, he said be careful. I recently did Baxters Loch Ness Marathon, 3,000ft decline and 2,000ft incline so an ability to run downhill would help somewhere like there.

    All my runs are (what I'd call) hilly so don't do any specific hill reps. And, am usually slow downhill trying to recover my HR.

  • I also run downhill slowly to recover a bit. Plus I've dislocated my left knee 3 times so don;t want to give it too much of a pounding - though I must say all the running this year has certainly strengthened it up nicely.

    It looks to me like a blend of various sessions would actually provide the most benefit. I have been known to over complicate things and I'm sure all of the suggested sessions will help me increase my speed anyway.

    One idea I've now considered thanks to this thread would be to run the local parkrun course, as a session. Hard up all of the hills, slowly downhill.

    Cheers folks, sterling advice.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Just another note about reps vs recovery times... If you want to get a good VO2 max work out, you want to minimise the recovery time, which as we've established is difficult to do on a straight up-and-down hill unless you run the recoveries too quickly.  So the ideal hill for this is one where you can run up two sides of a triangle and then jog down one steep side - even if this means that not all of the rep is actually uphill. 

    I use a route like this in the local park; total rep time 2 minutes exactly, but it's about 90 seconds fairly steep uphill followed by 30 seconds flat, turning right halfway up, then straight back down for about 90 seconds recovery.  All on grass.  An additional benefit is that rather than just stopping at the top of the hill, you can practise running through strongly when you get to the top, as you would do (hopefully!) in a race.

  • All good stuff Phil. 

    Flob. I think the term you want for me is a Gooberimage


  • mattywarr,

    You might want to examine your running gait / style when running uphill, because sore calves can result from landing too much on your toes.

    If the hill is very steep, this tends to lead to toe-landing, but if you can flatten your foot out a bit to land on the ball instead then I think this might solve your problem.

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