Hilly runs - better for training even if you are doing a flat-course half?

  • suedeheadscot

    Posts: 1130

    Mar 19, 2013 8:48 PM GMT
    Training for another half. The area around where I stay is pretty hilly (including this section nicknamed the Hill of Death - attempting to run up it is like jogging up the side of a building). The half marathon that I am training for is allegedly pretty flat. I am wondering if I should stick to running around the local park a few times as the course is pretty flat and the diameter is exactly a mile, or will the hill runs give me extra stamina? Thoughts?
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    Mar 23, 2013 3:07 AM GMT
    Psychologically they may be a boost, but physically they won't do much for you on easy runs. If you want to incorporate a hill day into your training schedule once a week you may see some benefits with regards to lung capacity. But treat it as a moderate intensity day and don't schedule it next to a track session.

    Use the downhills as an opportunity to practice turnover.
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2613

    Mar 24, 2013 6:41 PM GMT
    If the race course is pretty flat, I`d stick to training on the flat. Check it out. The best training will mirror the actual event.
    Hill running will give you more stamina, long term, as it`s akin to running faster, but you`ll probably need to give yourself more rest as a result.
  • suedeheadscot

    Posts: 1130

    Mar 24, 2013 6:49 PM GMT
    Thanks to the above posters - once the snow clears (grr!) then I'll start some more flat courses with the odd hill, which is more or less my run!
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    Mar 30, 2013 5:28 PM GMT
    I'd recommend doing some of both each week. And if you're not sure if the course is actually flat, it would be awful to show up to the race and find out that your idea of flat and someone else's is very different.
  • RunnerMD

    Posts: 157

    Apr 24, 2013 11:55 AM GMT
    For my training I always have a "hills" or "speed" day in there every week. Do you have that in your training? Depending on the distance you are talking about it would be ideal for me to have a trail like that to run on a "hill" day versus the more monotonous way I conquer it. Something called the "hill of death" may be a little too extreme, but there is always walking when you get to that point. I certainly wouldn't use that trail on your long run day, but if the trail is about the same length as the run you'd do on a "hill" day or your easy run day, I'd say go for it. If you are using it for your easy day you may want to consider walking up the hill. It may help break the psychological barrier of "I can't stop running or I'm wussing out" when it's actually better to just get walking.

    My first (and only so far) half marathon was on a difficult course and there were several uphill parts, one over a mile long. I had decided at the beginning that I would probably end up walking it unless my heart rate was telling me different. Sure enough, walking up the hill it was, right past people who were continuing to "run" up the hill. All running up the hill for me would have done would have at best kept the same pace, but probably slowed down to the one they were at or worse, while depleting more energy.

    Best case scenario it helps build stamina doing a hill day, especially on an actually hilly trail versus on a treadmill or back and forths. Secondarily is that no trail is track flat. Getting used to running with some hills will make what is considered a flat race actually feel flat. Unless you used this trail as your long run and ended up beating yourself up too much, I don't see the downside in using it.