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Hill Training What Gradient?

3 watchers
Feb 2016
7:24pm, 1 Feb 2016
3 posts
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What is the ideal gradient for a hill training session? Can anyone please help / give some advice? If there is already a thread on this, please direct me to it in case I missed it :0.
Am following a 21 week training plan for the Manchester Marathon. Am only aiming at a get-me-round, so far the plan is going well, 4 days running, 2 cross training and a rest day. On thursday I have 1M easy, then 6 x 30 secs hard uphill / then 2min 30secs easy - then close with a Mile. I live in a valley in the country and only way out is UP. There are 3 hills to pick, one is 14% because it has a sign saying so, the other 2 are one either side of this I think (country lanes so no signs on them). Each exit is about a mile. Which one is best to start hill reps on? The < 14%, the 14% or the >14% monster that even makes the car groan?
Feb 2016
7:32pm, 1 Feb 2016
356 posts
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Dont matter to me as all hills are horrible. Dunno about others but I just pick a hill (depending on my mood)and just do some reps, like run up to the top, or if its a bigish hill half way then jog back down as a recovery. Depending on the effort put in I.e. how big the hill is, I either turn around straight away and back up or give myself 1 min rest before going again.

But im a whimp ...
Feb 2016
7:35pm, 1 Feb 2016
20012 posts
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Derby Tup
I'm not sure I would bother with hill-reps to just get round. If you want to do some I suggest you start with the less steep slope and see how you go
Feb 2016
7:43pm, 1 Feb 2016
627 posts
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I wouldn't bother with hill-reps for Manchester full stop. It's flat!
Feb 2016
8:02pm, 1 Feb 2016
11306 posts
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I've tried a few hills.

4-5%: too shallow. A long drag, which was tough but not really the right kind of tough.

6.5% for 250m. Pretty good and it was an even gradient so could be used in sections. A bit long as a classic rep, but good for a controlled downhill.

10-11%: reps about 200m (could go to 400 :-o). Heartbreak hill of Falkirk parkrun. Tough, but easier than tackling it in a parkrun.

20%: just silly.

I reckon the optimum is probably around 8% at 80-100m. Unfortunately my local 8%s are a bit short, 40-50m.
Feb 2016
11:47pm, 1 Feb 2016
1720 posts
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While it is not essential to do hills if your goal to ‘ get around’ the a fairly flat marathon, for your longer term development as an endurance runner it is useful to do two types of hill sessions:

long hills (~250-300 metres) at a gradient around 5-7% run at a steady pace that gets you breathing deeply but not exhausted. These contribute to development of ‘strength endurance’;

short steep hills (>10% gradient) on which you go all-out for about 10-15 seconds, but with good recovery between efforts – these develop leg muscle power.
Feb 2016
10:20am, 9 Feb 2016
4 posts
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Thanks for feedback everyone. (thanks Canute - I definitely need to buck up on endurance and wondered if I could use the hills more imaginatively rather testing out new swearwords on them and doing squats & lunges at home with weights).

Where I live, I can't do more than 500m without a hill of some kind getting in my way, 2 of them I have to walk (the 14% and one of the unlabelled) to get out of the valley to do more of my runs. I also wondered if it was worth doing hill training when I am not planning to run hills in a race, or planning to win anything. I just love running for running sake but would like to see if I can make getting out of the valley a bit easier, so will try some 'fartlek' up the more 'gentle' ones, even if it strengthens my legs in general, would be good
Feb 2016
6:31pm, 9 Feb 2016
1722 posts
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Jenny, irrespective of your marathon plans, if you live in a hilly area, making a systematic effort to increase both your leg muscle power and your strength endurance will allow you to enjoy local runs even more. You could use the first 50 metres of so of one of the steep hills for repeated 10-15 sec intense efforts with generous recovery, to increase muscle power. To get out of the valley via a less steep hill, as you suggest, you could do a modified fartlek type session: warm up well; run at a comfortably hard effort for 200-300metres, jog very easily for a couple of minutes until your breathing has settled and repeat; the goal is exhilaration, not exhaustion.
Feb 2016
10:46am, 17 Feb 2016
5 posts
  • 0
Thanks Canute!

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