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This week’s workout comes from Beth Shutt, the operations director and coach for “The Run Formula,” a division of QT2 Systems coaching. She is also a registered dietitian who does work with “The Core Diet.” Shutt competed in cross country and track and field in high school and then at Penn State University. She then raced for six years as a professional triathlete, qualifying once for Ironman World Championships.
“Originally developed by one of running’s finest and most revolutionary minds, Arthur Lydiard, hill-bounding is an excellent tool to help athletes develop strength in their run,” Shutt says. While she warns that hill-bounding is not a race-day technique, the workout still has its benefits. “Some of these benefits include improved hip-flexor strength/drive, improved strengthening through the calf, hamstring and glute push off, and improved upper-torso drive and rotational strengthening through the trunk and arms,” she says. “There are also good aerobic benefits with this workout, of course, as well as a hint of anaerobic development.”
This workout is best done after completion of an aerobic training phase, but before getting into speedwork and intensity. “Hill bounding serves as a perfect segue between these two phases of training, because each repetition of bounding is similar to strength work at the gym,” Shutt says. “The length of the ‘interval’ is very anaerobic, by nature, but the technique and low cadence of the bounding maintains aerobic properties. It does a nice job of straddling both sides of the metabolic fence, providing a nice safe transition from one phase to the next.”
For this workout, use a hill that is approximately 60 seconds long, at a grade of roughly 6-10 percent, with a flat section at the top. Make use of a longer hill by beginning the interval midway up. On each uphill interval, run with your best effort, “using the longest stride possible, driving the knee up and out, pushing off of the toe, through the calf, hamstring, and glute,” Shutt says. “At the same time, use the arms and upper-body to help facilitate this driving motion. You will notice how much stronger this lower-body motion is, when done in conjunction with the use of your upper-body and arms.”
15 minutes of easy jogging, slowly building into a stronger pace
60 seconds up at best effort, using long, powerful strides and driving arms
3 minutes very easy jogging at top of the hill
Best effort downhill, using the shortest stride possible over the same distance you went up
30-90 seconds recovery, as needed
Repeat 4-8 times, depending on experience, durability, and need
After every third round, run two 15-second sprints at the bottom of the hill
Recovery jog to fill out an hour