Strong Uphill, Weak on the flat

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    Topic
  • #56159
    RDK
    Participant

    Hi all. Have recently come to TFtUA and have come to accept a few home truths that have helped explain the stagnation I’ve seen in my training recently.
    I came to running from hiking, mountaineering and at one point raced road bikes, and race in relatively short (i.e. not ultra) mountain races in Ireland. As it turns out, I do better the steeper the hill and the greater the height gain and technicality of the terrain, but tend to get overtaken on flat sections or fast non-technical descents. I’m not particularly fast on the road (40 min 10k).
    In the book and in these forums the recommendation I’ve seen is to do intervals/efforts uphill. Is this still where I should be focusing? I do struggle getting my legs turning over on the flat after a climb (feels like a triathlon transition) – is this an ME issue?

    Thanks for any help – still learning to train properly and trying to work on my ADS (the middle of a race season was not the ideal time to discover I had it!)

    Thanks!

Posted In: Mountain Running

  • Participant
    TerryLui on #56174

    1) If you’re already strong in the hills, I wouldn’t focus on training MORE on the hills

    the recommendation I’ve seen is to do intervals/efforts uphill. Is this still where I should be focusing?

    2) If the flats are where you can improve the most, then that’s where I’d focus.

    I do struggle getting my legs turning over on the flat after a climb (feels like a triathlon transition) – is this an ME issue?

    As you’ve identified, it sounds like ADS to me. You’ve got a strong and efficient system for short powerful sections of a run but the long and low intensity is where you’re coming up short.

    Participant
    Garret on #56214

    Hi
    Are you targeting an ultra distance/race or looking to improve on the shorter hill races ?
    In either case tackle the ADS because any higher intensity training will have the most benefit once you’ve got a good aerobic base.

    If you’re targeting ultra it sounds like you could be TFTUA calls Cat 1 so you’re best to focus on increasing running volume and base.

    If you’re targeting the shorter runs then tackle the ADS and add shorter duration intensity focusing on your speed and running economy.

    Towards the end of Chapter 11 in TFTUA there’s a section High Intensity that give advice on how to introduce the intensity.

    Nice to see another Irish participant here too !
    – Garret

    Participant
    AshRick on #56223

    A recommendation from my experience over the last year…do’nt neglect long flat-ground runs. If we’re always on rolling terrain, I think we can get mediocre at hills and flat. The focused 2-3 hour flat runs made me much more economical and smooth (and faster) on the flats.

    Then do dedicated hill workouts separately. After all, triathletes don’t do hardly any extended bike/run combined workouts. They work on them separately, and put it all together now and then and for races. Same with medley swimmers — work on four strokes in dedicated workouts, them put them together now and then as a drill.

    Participant
    RDK on #56276

    Thanks all.

    If you’re targeting the shorter runs then tackle the ADS and add shorter duration intensity focusing on your speed and running economy.

    Yes Garret, mostly targeting shorter duration (ie 1-2 hours) with the occasional 4-5 hour race – mostly in the Mournes.

    The focused 2-3 hour flat runs made me much more economical and smooth (and faster) on the flats.

    Something I’ve usually avoided due to the sheer tedium… will put my headphones in and suck it up

    Participant
    Garret on #56282

    As you’re targeting the shorter runs then high intensity training will be more important.

    Sort out the ADS by targeting runs at the upper Zone 2 range.
    Introduce intensity focused on speed, I use this progression:
    – Pickups
    – Short hill repeats: 10sec flat out with long 2 min recovery (starting at 2×4)
    – Flatter trail Z3 intervals (3:1 work:rest, starting at 3×6 mins)
    – 30/30s

    If you’ve never done much high intensity running training then be very conservative in the progression.

    Include weight training focusing on single leg strength and using heavy weight and low reps (e.g. 8) per set

    In my experience hill based intensity training is good for flat speed as well and its less likely to lead to injuries.

    – Garret

    Participant
    todd.struble on #57197

    I’m a little late to this party but I’m in the same boat-ish (I don’t think I can run a 40 minute 10k!). But I was just reading the section Training for the Uphill Athlete word for word addresses your question! Look to page 278-279.

    If you are stronger (relative to your competitive standing) on the uphills in running races but get dropped on the flatter and faster terrain, this would indicate that your aerobic endurance is probably relatively higher than your running economy. A wise training trade-off for this type of runner will be to shift some emphasis to flatter, faster running and technique work.

    What this means in practice is likely individualized and I’m guessing where the coaches make their money. For what it’s worth, my approach currently is to sign up (and dedicate some training blocks) for some 5k and 10k races for the fall/early winter.

    Participant
    RDK on #57695

    Thanks all for the help – that’ll all hlep inform my winter!

    Moderator
    Jane Mackay on #57924

    RDK, it might really be worth your while to book a 1:1 coaching call to answer these questions and get guidance on how to structure your training for the off-season. I had a call with Carolyn a few months ago to guide me in preparing for my first-ever event (18 Sept) and it was invaluable. A concentrated half-hour conversation with a coach can save faffing around and time lost on experimentation.

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