Hill training for endurance

South African coach Abrie de Swardt has come up with some excellent tips for hill training in a recent issue of The Coach. Hill training, as you may be aware, offers the following benefits:

  • helps develop power and muscle elasticity;
  • improves stride frequency and length;
  • develops co-ordination, encouraging the proper use of arms during the driving phase and feet in the support phase;
  • develops control and stabilisation as well as improved speed (downhill running);
  • promotes strength endurance;
  • develops maximum speed and strength (short uphill runs).

Abrie de Swardt is a big fan of hill training for endurance athletes and believes it can make the difference between winning and losing. Here are a number of ways to complete hill sessions that will help elevate your performance:

  1. Short hills – 5-10 seconds to improve the phosphocreatine system of anaerobic energy production (speed strength) or 15-30 seconds to improve the lactic (glycolytic) power system;
  2. Whistle hills – controlled by the coach with a whistle, eg sets of 10s, 15s, 20s, 25s flat-out sprints, with an easy recovery jog of one minute between each and 3-5 minutes between sets;
  3. Short hills of 30-80m to develop speed strength;
  4. Longer hills of 150-200m for strength endurance;
  5. Hills of 400-1,000m and hilly circuits over several kilometres for ultra-distance runners;
  6. Downhill sprints over 50-80m for increased leg speed;
  7. Hill bounding or hops and skipping over 30-80m.

The Coach, Issue 16, Page 18-20

Share this

Follow us