Hill Sprint Substitutions | Uphill Athlete

Hill Sprint Substitutions

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  • #28713


    I have ADS, so I did not do much intensity during my 8 week base period for a (modified) Cat 1 50k plan. Once I hit the Intensity week I did my hill sprint workout (exactly as TftUA laid out). It was all good during the workout, but my Achilles killed me for the next 24 hours and I was only ready for Z2 base running (or Z1) after 48 hours.

    Is there anything I could substitute in for the 8x10s hill sprints?

    Since I still have ADS [AeT 157 AeT / AnT 185 (early 19 test for AnT)] I figured Z1/Z2 volume was more important to maintain the doing the hill sprints.

    Starting in December of ’18 I began training for a marathon in March. I continued training for a 52k skyrace in June, 30mi OCR in Aug and soon a 30mi OCR on Sep 28.

    This is more training mileage than I have done before, but I took the volume at prescribed increases. However, I get bad soreness and pain at the insertion point of my Achilles when I add speed. 12-24 hours after Z3 and Z4 intervals I can deal with, but hill sprints kill me. I see a PT weekly to make sure this does not turn to injury, but until my A race ends after Nov, we are just working to maintain. Once Nov/Dec hits will will progress the PT load.

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    Anonymous on #28723

    I figured Z1/Z2 volume was more important to maintain the doing the hill sprints.


    It won’t be the same type of benefit, but more traditional strength work (as detailed in TftUA) is probably the best replacement for hill sprints until they don’t bother you.

    brian on #28727

    Thanks Scott.

    My PT and weekly circuits usually have some single leg strength built into them, and I will look at additional supplementation to make up for my “missing” hill sprints. Maybe “fast” sled pushes?

    Aaron on #28820

    I just listened to this podcast by two really solid running focused PTs who are big on strength work and loading up heavy. One of them (Chris Johnson of zernpt) has an interesting digital book resource called running on resistance that covers wide range of strength focused work for runners.

    Anonymous on #28832

    You might also try easing into sprints by doing them as a stride, where you accelerate up to almost a sprint, then ease off. It sounds like there might be a neuromuscular component if anytime you add speed you get a niggle of an injury. Make sure you’re driving with your hips (squeezing your glute when you land will help for hip extension) and taking quick steps so you don’t overload you’re calf and lower leg muscles. Start with 4×10 (or even 2-3) and ease into more reps over time, as you can.

    brian on #29498

    Thanks for the suggestions Aaron and Alison.

    I plan to add some “max velocity” intervals, as Richard Diaz calls them. Where you slowly accelerate up to the maximum velocity you can maintain good gait (maybe 200-300 meters). Once something falls off (SPM, arm swing, over striding, etc) you slow down down to recovery. These are similar to your suggestions and I want to see how they go.

    I mostly get sore after generating power in dorsiflexion, either a lot in short time (hill sprints) or moderate over longer time (AnT runs). I can usually recover from the moderate in 24 hours though. I don’t get sore “running” mountains, it’s all the road and flat trail work I do during the week.

    Anonymous on #29651

    200-300m “sprints” won’t be sprints nor max velocity. It’s way too long.

    A ~50m hill is more like it. For true sprints, accelerate for the first few seconds, then hold that speed for the last 5″.

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