Hill repeats

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  • #19764

    I live in flatland and am training for timed events for pace and distance on a steep incline- roughly 900 feet in .9 miles in a 20/25 minute target time, among others with similar grades and respective times. Minimum carry weight is 45 pounds.

    I’ve got a few spots which gain at about this rate for .25 mi or less. I’d love any training recommendations for making the most of repeats on these stretches, which at points will get me that 30-40%+ grade I’ll be dealing with.

    There’s another hill I can use which is basically just nuclear check steps for half a mile of trail. I can get some longer runs, but won’t be able to simulate those angles. Still, I’m curious if the difficulty of variable height and length steps will do as good a job or better than the tiny run, especially since I can get more distance at a similar effort level out of it.

    I’d be grateful for any thoughts from the community!

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #19799

    First thoughts:

    * 900′ / .9 miles is ~19%, so I wouldn’t train on 30-40% unless doing Local Muscular Endurance work.
    * What’s your current time at AeT, carrying 45#, on that 1/4-mile hill? And what’s the gain on the hill?
    * What are “check steps”?

    Anonymous on #19800


    With an event that is 20-25 min long the basic aerobic capacity is still going to play the major role in performance. I’d train that on a stair machine or steeper treadmill where you can do frequent in long duration (>1 hour), continuous aerobic efforts at or under AeT. This should be making up 80-90% of your training volume.

    Save the hill repeats for the specific intensity sessions but these will be most effective if added on a big aerobic base. They will not work if used as substitute for the aerobic base.

    I’d do these intensity sessions on the same grade as the race as that will affect your mechanics a lot. I also like Scott’s idea of doing an ME block of training for this event.


    Dodson on #19830

    Thanks for your reply, Scott S.! I guess I should roll it back a little, I posted this originally on my phone which is a bit of a disservice to anyone trying to make sense of it. I’ll be more specific:

    1- It does average to a 19%, but there’s several significant runs scattered along the route at 35-45% followed by recoveries. The course seems designed to max you out and pull back, and hopefully you’ve got enough stamina to recover at a ~3 m/h pace before hitting the next steep pull.

    2- The section of the hill which I’ve been doing repeats on is actually about .17 mi, give or take a tenth. It gains 146 feet with a couple stretches which run closer in the 30’s and 40’s, percentage wise. AeT on this hill averages 4:45 under a 55 lb load, which is what I’ve been training under. It’s short, but it does seem to simulate the .9 hill reasonably well for training purposes.

    3- Ah, check steps! Sorry for the jargon. Basically just stairs. These are made from cedar posts and so fairly irregular. This hill gains 400 ft over .5 miles. I’ve only recently found it and don’t have any good numbers as far, but given that they’re steps, definitely feel they isolated the leg muscles in a way the graded hill does not.

    Scott J., thanks also for your advice. The bulk of my training to this point has been on a stair climber under a 45 lb vest or on a stationary bike with high resistance for ME, but most of my work to this point has been in the aerobic zone- although perhaps not as high as 80-90%. I’m trying to get more specific as the summer approaches, but I feel you’ve hit it about continuing to build the aerobic base. Looking at my explanation above, it seems apparent that it’s a strength/stamina event and the secret sauce is a big base.

    Also, given the additional info about the two training hills- does using the graded slope for intensity sessions and the stepped hill for ME sound about right if becoming more event specific is the goal?

    Thanks again fellas.

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