That's interesting... But I guess it could happen. After weeks and weeks of long relatively slow running, what hill training would do is to bring "power and flexibility" in your strides. Your mechanics should improve; you should have more "push" in your take-off; you're bringing your knees up higher so your stride length should naturally improve... All these should add up and it is not uncommon to see someone start to run regular training runs almost full minute per mile faster. But I guess if you already have all those elements developed, and if you do uphill running regularly enough; you may get to the point where you just don't improve any more.
With our "demo" DVD for "Hill Training--the Lydiard Way", we tried to explain techniques of some of Lydiard's hill exercises. There was a talk that we should go ahead and sell this DVD to generate some cash flow. I was the first one to object to that. The one we are working on right now; a fully scale hill training video (okay, sorry for the commercial!), we try to explain just exactly what Lydiard was doing. It is, as some of you already know, a circuit of approximately 2-mile. There's an uphill section; then after recovery jog on the top, there's a downhill striding; then, as you mentioned, wind-sprints at the bottom of the hill. It is a whole package of different exercises to prepare your body for more race-specific training that follows. It is quite amazingly well-thought-out balanced training regime. Concentrating on only uphill section; however benefitial it might be, is like concentrating only on long runs. Then the program will become not-balanced.
What Dick Quax meant, and if he did say that about Rod, I'd assume this is what he meant, is that; even though hill training is of great benefit, it is still not "running fast on track". The exercise CAN be that event-specific. I know of some Japanese coaches who prefer step running instead of uphill running because "if the surface is angled, then the timing of the landing may get a bit off". Now I wouldn't go that far, and there IS a benefit to landing on the angled surface. But, as Lydiard always said and this is what his coordination phase would do, you need to develop each elements and then you need to coordinate the whole thing. Just because you have good aerobic capacity, developed good anaerobic capacity and speed, that still does not mean you can race well. It is a fine art of blending all the elements together. Same thing; you may have good knee lift, back-leg extention, ankle flexibility and all; but you still need to transfer all those into the task of "running fast".