One of my pet peeves is hearing people talk about not having any speed at the end of a race. Granted at the top level in tactical races, the runner with the best sprint tends to win the day. But for most people hanging on for dear life in an all-out effort, the ability to finish off a good race has more to do with strength than speed.
At the end of a tough race, your body is tired, so it needs to be strong to produce top speed. But your body is also working at close to VO2max, aka your aerobic capacity, before you even try to sprint, so you also need good oxygen uptake and some anaerobic tolerance. You get strength from long runs on the hills, and you develop VO2 max and anaerobic tolerance by doing good speed work. But to develop the ability to finish fast, you have to develop all facets at once. How? Intense hill work!
If you are training for runs longer than 10K, then hill repetitions at anaerobic threshold are useful, because they emphasize endurance. If you are training for distances up to 10K, hill reps at VO2 max emphasize maximal oxygen uptake more than endurance.
RELATED: How To Become A Beast On The Uphills
Time | Distance Description
10 min.—Easy running RPE 1 (Easy effort; Slower than normal training pace), with a few moderate sprints RPE 2
(Moderate effort; Normal training pace)
4–6 × 5 min.—For 10K training: uphill running at RPE 4 (Hard effort; 10K race pace). Jog downhill between reps.*
10 min.—Easy running RPE 1
*NOTE: If you are training for a 5K or shorter, try 6–8 × 2-min. hill reps at slightly harder than 5K effort.
The gradient should not be super steep: a hill that allows you to run close to normal training pace at this intense effort is best so that you’re able to retain something close to normal running form. This session should be done as part of your tempo and speed-work training but never within two weeks of an important race. Recovery is important, so never do more than one of these sessions per week.
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