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Discussion: Hill Session

in: Orienteering; Training & Technique

Sep 24, 2014 12:04 PM # 
I'm thinking of trying a new hill for hill reps near my new house but I'm not 100% sure how long to make the reps.
The sets would be:

1) 350m distance - 20m climb
2) 550m - 35m climb
3) 850m - 45m climb

Would this be a good distance to tackle for long reps or too far for repeats? I was thinking of starting with a 1-2-3-2-1 session and maybe increasing every couple of weeks...
Sep 24, 2014 12:34 PM # 
Depends if you're doing reps for speed or stamina.

Recovery time is important. You have quite a shallow hill, so if you're planning a "jog back down" recovery you might have too much recovery time.

Any reps are good: the extra benefit from doing "reps" in place of "steady run" is much greater than the difference between "random reps" and "optimal reps"
Sep 24, 2014 1:19 PM # 
Whatever the reps a very important feature of hill work is to not stop on reaching the crest of the hill but to drive through the top at the same rate of work as you were doing going up the hill, this even for just 20 or 30 meters. There is a tremendous psychological gain in this little trick.
Then, yes, as you are returning to the bottom go fast enough for some recovery but not too much.
Sep 24, 2014 1:37 PM # 
Most running books seem to recommend 10-20 seconds on a 5-10% grade.
They are mainly working on building leg strength and running form.
Once you go beyond 50 seconds you are beyond that type of session.
We were doing 10x~200m. on a 8% grade in about 40-55 seconds.
Sep 24, 2014 1:59 PM # 
I'm probably looking for stamina on hills to start with (to get me able to sustain a steady trot up a hill in an orienteering race instead of walking)... I was planning on coming back down the hill a little faster than a jog as it will take ages to get back from the long rep.
Sep 24, 2014 4:29 PM # 
For what your goal is here are some options with the most relevant workouts on top:
1. Hill repeats 10 - 20 seconds at 8-10% grade at 95% effort and full recovery 2+ min rest
2. Some gym work: one legged squats, bulgarian split squats, jump squats. Use low reps 8 - 10. Start body weight, add weight as you progress. EDIT Checked your profile :) maybe hold off on the squats if you have knee problems /EDIT
3. VO2 intervals: 1 - 3 mins intervals at 80%-85% with equal rest up to 2 min for the longer intervals
4. Threshold intervals 6 - 10 min intervals with 2 - 3 min rest

But mostly what graeme said, any interval work is much more beneficial than a steady run.
Sep 25, 2014 8:07 AM # 
Thanks for the suggestions. I tried my session last night after work. I had a good 13 mins warmup with a wee hill on the way. The reps worked out at 300m, 500m and 700m so slightly shorter and the times were 1:20, 2:33, 3:40, 2:34 and 1:20 for the pyramid with active recovery down the hill at a fast jog, and very short walk (20m) at end to lower heart rate before next climb.

The long rep felt good to keep plugging away up the hill though.

I'll take not of the suggestions though and try and do something a little shorter (looking at the hill I trained on there is a steep-ish section of about 150m which would be perfect to try the 10-20s).

Were you suggesting the Threshold and V02 intervals be done on hills too or on flat stuff?
Sep 25, 2014 8:13 AM # 
A good way to get a longish hill rep and not a long recovery is to hunt out hills that have a bent path with a shorter steeper recovery.... alas, that's not all that common. Although in sand-duney type terrain often one side of the hill is short and steep and the other side is longer and flatter - varying it is not a bad thing as orienteering and racing in general has varied hills with varied recovery.
Sep 25, 2014 2:28 PM # 
I think Nikolay is recommending those type of workouts because a weakness at running up hills is indicative of general weakness in the overall cardio system. The hill is just increasing the load above your comfort level.
Doing long threshold and VOmax pace runs will raise your overall fitness and make any hill easier.
For increasing leg strength for hill , bicycling is really good, uses samemuscle group.
Sep 25, 2014 2:48 PM # 
Sep 25, 2014 4:15 PM # 
The long treshold and VO2 max don't need to be run on hills. With them you are focusing on different systems than the hills workout. And you want to keep your legs strong to load the cardiovascualar system. Plus Two days later when you go out for this hill workout your legs will be happy and able to push harder.

Agreed for the bicycling, If you have hilly roads climb while seated. If riding on flats use big gear and stay at 60 - 70 rpms. I like to do throw in the middle of my ride 5 - 10 intervals of 2 - 3 mins fast riding with 3 - 5 mins regular riding (still all done with low rpms)
Sep 26, 2014 1:50 AM # 
Running and cycling might use some of the same muscle groups, but use them in pretty different ways. The benefit of the cross straining would surely be mostly in central adaptations (i.e. Cardiorespiratory system) rather than specific muscle training.
Sep 26, 2014 2:39 PM # 
Running uphills - the ones we see in orienteering doesn't happen in road running and barely in trail running. That's why you see running and cycling using different muscles claims all the time. But for running steep uphills, cycling uses the same quads and glutes in a very similar motion and is a good strength workout if you keep the gears heavy and the rpm low. And as you mention is a great Cardiorespiratory workout. In fact in lab results many people can push their VO2max higher in a veloergometer than on a treadmill.
Sep 27, 2014 8:54 AM # 
Conversely, when you stick a true runner on a bike, the only thing they can do well is shortish powerful standing hill climbs - the closest thing cycling comes to the running action and muscle contraction speed. However, I do agree orienteering-style very steep climbs are a different kettle of fish.
Sep 27, 2014 11:39 AM # 
Did you see any fish out there today?
Sep 27, 2014 12:04 PM # 
Lots of Dory -like orienteers.
Sep 28, 2014 6:14 PM # 
The Lydiard way, the original hill session... and the one that work the best for me.
Link below, sometime the site is down, but it worth to wait and try again....

Remark:The guy springing with blue shirt, is Wyatt, a world mountain racer champ.
Sep 29, 2014 8:09 AM # 
That looks like a really interesting technique for hill training. I can already imagine my calfs screaming at me the first time you try it.
Sep 29, 2014 4:44 PM # 
Here is the full hill circuit workout explained by Lydiard in his book. Works :)

Find a hill with a raise of near one in three, or a little steeper: on grass, forest trail, or the road that will give good traction so that it is possible to spring up-hill without slipping. It should be about 200 to 300 meters long or longer, with a flattish area at the base of approximately 200 to 400 meters where you can sprint, and an area at the top where it is possible to jog.

If a circuit can be found with a steeper hill and a similar flattish area at the top as mentioned, that would bring you into a more gradual down-hill, leading to the flat at the bottom: it is better for the down �hill running and seems less tiresome psychologically. Approach the training this way: Warm-up for at least 15 minutes. This being sufficient; discard unnecessary clothes at the base of the hill so as to allow the maximum freedom of movement. Then start springing up the hill with a bouncing action and slower forward progression. It is necessary to use the body's weight for resistance; and the slower the forward momentum is, the more resistance will be felt. The Center of Gravity must be lifted up and down to gain resistance, not just lifting the knees. Keep the upper body relaxed with the arms loose at the sides. Hold the head up; and do not look down at the ground which tends to throw the hips back. Keep your knees coming up high with the hips held comfortably forward. Do all that you can or feel capable of doing. Should the exercise be too tiring to go all the way up the hill, then jog some yards before doing more. Use it according to your needs and ability.

At the hill top, jog easily for near three minutes before running down-hill with a fast relaxed striding
action, this will develop the fine leg-speed and also stretch leg muscles for better stride length. Should the hill that you have selected be too steep for this exercise, then it is better to take it easily as you run down.
The down-hill section should be such that it allows the runner to stride down fast without fear of losing control and falling.

At the base of the hill, some windsprints (sprint repetitions) should be done to gradually accustom your
body to exercise anaerobically, varying the distances from 50 to 400 Meters with each circuit, If the circuit
is short, do the windsprints only every 15 minutes. It is not advisable to suddenly go into a great volume of
intense anaerobic training as very many people do. So it is logical that this anaerobic training should
initially be not to intense, and in a reasonable volume. By only doing windsprints on the short stretch at the
bottom of the hill, and by only doing them every 15 minutes, it is not possible to do to much. Use whatever
distance you like, but for best results, you try to use 50, 100, 200, and 400 windsprints.

Go through the circuit again, etc, until you have been out for an hour, or according to ability to exercise
this way. Then cool down for at least 15 minutes.

This training should be done three days weekly with the alternate days for leg-speed running, three a
week:, and one day a long run of 1.5 to 2 hours should be completed at an easy effort.
Oct 1, 2014 7:47 AM # 
Again thanks for the info. I've managed to download a pdf of some of his stuff which I'll check out. I've no chance of making time to do 3 times a week, let alone fill the other 4 days a week with alternative training but I can fit in some of that.

I dipped my feet last night with 10 x 20s bursts up a 10% hill and 1 min recovery (limited time to do session) and a good 15 mins warm up before and 15 min cool down after... really good fun session. I can definitely do more (or push harder) so I think it will be a good one for winter evenings (headlamp on and away I go)

This discussion thread is closed.