One-Hour Workout: Running Hills And Drills

Use this unconventional workout to focus on a combination of speed and form.

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Use this unconventional workout to focus on a combination of speed and form.

This week’s workout comes from Alison Kreideweis, a two-time USAT all-american, a two-time Team USA member, and co-founder of the Empire Tri Club in New York City who has been competing and coaching for more than 17 years.

One of the best things about running is the ability to throw on your shoes, walk out the door, and go for a run. Yet because running form is so important, the rush to get going may actually hinder your ability to run faster and farther with more efficiency. Think about how many drills competitive swimmers do during their warm-up set before getting into their main swim.

“Studies show that incorporating a dynamic warm-up and drills into your run may be the best way to prevent injuries and improve performance,” Kreideweis says. “A proper warm-up loosens your body up and elevates your body temperature to help prepare it for the demands of the workout. When incorporated into your weekly running routine, this can lead to improved running form, increased speed, and fewer injuries.”

Kreideweis calls this workout “hills and drills” because it’s a combination of tried-and-true speedwork and dynamic drills on an incline. “I recommend starting on a short, gentle hill that takes less than a minute to reach the top,” she says. “As your fitness improves, you may graduate to longer, steeper hills.”

She also understands that many triathletes may turn away from speedwork because they don’t consider themselves fast. This is the wrong mindset, Kreideweis says. “A motto I like to share with my athletes is: ‘You don’t need to be fast to do speedwork. Speedwork makes you faster!’ ”

The effort in this workout is a percentage of max heart rate or rate of perceived effort. Both the warm-up and cool-down are at a easy conversational pace, but it should be difficult to maintain a conversation during the faster intervals.

10 minutes easy run, building slowly to 50-percent effort

Main Set:
From the bottom of the hill to about the halfway point, complete the following:
High knees
Butt kicks
High knee skips
– Short, powerful acceleration for six to eight steps followed by an easy jog (walk/ light jog down the hill to recover)

2–4 sprints at a moderately-hard pace from the bottom to the halfway point
Turn around and jog easy to the bottom for recovery

3-5 full hills, start at a moderately-hard pace and increase your speed to a full sprint as you near the top (by the time you reach the top you should feel breathless)
Turn around and jog easy to the bottom for recovery

5-10 minutes easy jog/walk

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