Thursday, August 16, 2007


"Are those short repeats really beneficiary for a marathon runner? I'm sure you need them if your distance is 5k, but do they really help for a marathon?"

ps-forward, knees up, back-leg fully extended drills on the uphills to a little over 3 minutes, then instead of heading straight down the hill, I kept running (slowly) up to the top (it evens out a bit so I'm still able to recover) before heading down. This hopefully keeps my muscles from going right from the uphill shock to the downhill eccentric contractions, which should allow them to recover (Nobby Hashizume says the same thing, to recover for 800 before heading back down).

With a shorter work interval I was able to get my knees up higher, and hopefully I'm getting more out of the exercises by focusing on better form made possible with the shorter duration."

I pretty much took Glenn's advice and combined it with a long, illustrated article by Nobby Hashizume, who worked closely with Arthur Lydiard during his final years and was his good friend for 25 years or so. This article really came alive when Nobby mailed me a copy of a hill training DVD that featured Arthur lecturing about hill exercises while athletes demonstrated them.

I don't want to reprint the article since it's Nobby's work, but it mentions that "Arthur's Boys" climbed an 800 meter hill with springing and bounding, recovered on 800 meters of flat road at the top, ran 800 meters down the hill, then did a series of windsprints or easy intervals at the bottom. They did four circuits of these, plus a warm up and cool down to get 12-14 miles in the session. They did these six days a week (plus their standard 22 miler), though later Lydiard concluded that 2-3 sessions of hills would be just as effective.

I'm sure Arthur's boys got to the top in under three minutes, and that seems like enough time for me to load up the muscle fibers before recovering. I don't have a flat area at the top for strides, so I have to do all of mine at the base. In short, I do what I can to emulate the training Arthur's original group performed on the hills given the limitations of my own physiology and geography.

It's also worth noting that Arthur's schedules for conditioning and hill training were the same for his milers, his 5K guys and his marathoners. Peter Snell, Murray Halberg and Barry Magee all worked through this preliminary training, because each of them were training the same systems before moving on to more pace and distance specific work. These first two phases are about building the strength and endurance to maintain your maximum speed for the race distance, whatever that may be, without slowing down.

With all this being said, probably the main reason for me performing my hill workouts as I do is the fact that the coach hasn't asked me to change. I'm sure he has his own opinions on specific hill workouts, but a look at my log shows me consistently coming out of my hill phases in better shape than I was going in. If this is the case, why mess with it? He has added more of the preliminary speedwork on some days, and a good explanation for this can be found in his post on speedwork.

Today Lucas joined me for 7 miles at 5:57 pace. It was nice to have the company, and the workout really felt good. 5:56, 5:56, 5:49, 5:55, 5:53, 5:51, and 5:55 were the splits, and the heart rate was right at 160 after a fairly challenging uphill last mile. I found myself looking forward to the effort that would come with paying back the slight downhills on a curving mile 5 and 6, which I take as a good sign. If I can keep it together for the long run tomorrow and manage to recover for the weekend, things will be looking good.

Training: 10.1 miles, 1:04:22, 6:22 pace, w/7 mile effort in 5:56, 5:56, 5:49, 5:55, 5:53, 5:51, and 5:55. Good day


Anonymous said...

So do you just run your repeats during this phase and the anaerobic phase by feel? I noticed in your log you have specific times, are they predertimened times you shoot for or just how you felt?

Mike said...

For this phase any repeats, strides or accelerations are strictly by feel. If I log the splits it's mostly to look back at them later (usually during my next build), or to let the coach know how it's going.

For the anaerobic phase there is often a target range, especially if I'm coming up to a preliminary race and I want to get some idea of what pacing strategy to use, but it's never set in stone. Current fitness is a moving target; One day's 800's might be a few seconds slower or faster than what it would be the next for a variety of factors.

Effort is always at the forefront before actual pace, though it's nice when they match up the right way!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Now during anaerobic phase what pace do you find best, 5k-10k etc? And do you vary it from workout to workout?

Mike said...

I think easing into the first few intervals is a good idea, then I just run as fast as I can for the distance. Usually it ends up being around 3-5K pace, but since my sessions at the track are fairly short (around 5K though sometimes a little longer). The post by the coach explains the purpose of the fast stuff.

Evan Roberts said...

In response to this, some thoughts on hill repeats on my blog

Mike said...

Here's a link to Evan's fine post.

It's good to hear from you, and I enjoyed the post. My calf muscles hurt just looking at those steps.