Maybe this would be a good time to post my hill training. Nobby and others could suggest how some of you guys might vary from this. I learned how to do hill circuits from Arthur, with help from Nobby's video. I have made many adjustments to the way I do them based on advice from Nobby, Glenn and others. I recently discussed them with Barry Magee and Bill Baillie. Barry watch me do some springing up his driveway and said it was the same way he did it. Nobby has informed me, though, that many of these athletes had their own way of doing it.
In July, I did a 4 week hill phase, hitting weekly mileage of 80, 95, 93, and 64 (work and travel got in the way that last week). This is less mileage than I was doing in my base phase (see earlier post), but I find I need some serious recovery the day after hill circuits. I do 3 hill sessions per week (M-W-F). I worked my way up from 30 minute session to a max of 60 minute sessions. On Sunday I keep my long run going. I must say, I enjoy doing these, and they go by pretty quickly.
Glenn has done a great job of describing a Lydiard hill circuit, but here is how mine go:
I start with a 3 mile warm-up from my house to the hill with some easy striders thrown in along the way. The hill is about 400 meters long, fairly steep, but not too steep to run down smoothly. It has a 200m flat area at the top and a bigger flat area at the bottom.
I start springing up the hill with a VERY slow forward motion, pushing off hard from the ankles, while lifting the opposite knee, bouncing as high as I can, arms swinging, but relaxed in the shoulders. (This is not skipping - each foot touches only once). It takes me up to 4 minutes to climb 400m, so I am just creeping along - bouncing high, trying to maximize "air time". Once at the top, I slowly jog 200m out and 200m back to recover (about 3 minutes). Then, I run down the hill quite fast with big strides. Another 3 minute jog, then a set of 4 roughly 60m sprints (lifting the knees, up on the balls of my feet), each with a slow jog back to the start. After those, I jog another 3 minutes recovery, then start over with the next circuit.
After 4 circuits or so, I jog 3 miles home.
None of this is the least bit original. It came from the directly guys mentioned above and of course it all started with Arthur.
Variations: I added in some bounding and high-knee exercise on some of the circuits. I did this because it says to do so in "Running With Lydiard". After talking with Barry Magee and others, I know that they pretty much just did springing. Nobby and Glenn have said the same thing.
As I mentioned previously, these excercises made me FASTER. There is no doubt about that. As I think Glenn mentioned before, I have also become a bit more of a forefoot runner. On even the slightest uphill grade, I now run totally on my forefoot, which was not the case before. I have rather poor basic speed, but these make the most of it. After some weeks of this stuff, my down hill runs start hitting :60-:62. I start out at more like (:65-:67)and I feel like I am flying on the 60m sprints.
The really revealing thing is when I complete the 4 weeks and then go run some 800m repeats or something like that on the track. You can feel the difference and it is good! You can also see the difference. My calves are, um, Peter Snell-like. Yesterday I was demonstating springing for some high school kids and all they wanted to talk about was how my calves freak them out!