Hill repeats are speedwork in disguise
Driving knees and long strides
Make for quick feet and strong thighs
Over pavement the runner glides
Taking on harder climbs
I have always felt like summer and hill repeats pair perfectly together. I am sure this stems from training for cross country for eight summers and hill repeats are the perfect way to slowly edge into speedwork. Running hills will develop the leg muscles – particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles – which ultimately get your body ready for the intensity of speedwork. My fondest memory of this work-out was my high school coach having to load us up on a bus and drive 15-2o minutes out to find a hill. One of our favorites was Cowman’s which is a hill in a middle of cow pasture on the outskirts of my hometown. It was a sharp climb that made your calf muscles burn but we knew that we would never see a climb like that in a race.
Even in the flattest areas, you can find a hill. Another favorite hill repeat place of my high school coach was an underside of an overpass. Into college, I would do hill repeats in the summer on that overpass blaring Red Hot Chili Peppers the whole way.
Most recently, I had an urge to find a hill and climb. I relied on an old favorite 10x 30 seconds hill repeats with a jog down. I was able to go a bit further each time and afterwards, I knew I deserved my beer.
Where is your favorite hill? Do you incorporate hill work into your training plan?