Hill training for a faster half marathon

The half marathon is run at a pace just below the lactate threshold. It requires more restraint than a 10K but more aggressiveness than a trail ultramarathon. It’s a delicate balance that needs to be practised in training to prepare both mind and body.

Hill training is so important when training for any race distance.  If your race route is fairly flat then using hills in your training will make your race day experience so much easier and enjoyable.

Here are three types of hill workout to incorporate into your half marathon training plan.

Why does hill training work?

Hills increase the difficulty or the intensity of a workout. Climbing a hill increases heart rate, which improves both your aerobic and your anaerobic capacity. So, can be used to vary the workout intensity kind of like speed-work, but without the actual speed.

Hill Sprints

This hill sprinting workout is a training run that doesn’t change much as your goal race distance changes. The purpose of this high intensity workout is to build your running strength, power and speed. Your pace for this workout should be at nearly all out pace and will be anaerobic. The goal is to maximise your strength and power gains rather than improve endurance so the workout can be used for all distances from the mile to the marathon.

Workout: Run 10 repeats of about 150 meters up a steep hill of 10% to 15% elevation. Run at the fastest pace you can maintain for the repeat.

Pace: As fast as you can maintain on each repeat.

Recover: Recover by walking or running at a very easy pace down the hill after each repeat. As soon as you reach your starting point, turn around and begin your next repeat.

Hill Power Runs

For this half marathon hill training you will need to find a hill that is around 400 meters in length and with a moderate to steep elevation of around 10% incline.

Workout: Run 4 to 10 repeats of 400 meters up a moderate to steep hill. Concentrate on maintaining a strong steady pace throughout this hill climb.

Pace: Maintain a pace that is a bit faster than your current half marathon race pace.

Recover: Recover by walking or jogging down the hill at an easy pace. Begin your next repeat as soon as you reach your starting point.

Hill Lactate Builders

This hill workout is not only a great half marathon specific workout but it is also an excellent training run to build and improve your lactate threshold.

Workout: Run four to eight 800 metre hill repeats up a moderate to steep hill of between 8% and 12% elevation.

Pace: Maintain a pace that is a bit faster than your current half marathon race pace.

Recover: Recover by jogging down the hill at an easy pace. Turn around when you reach the bottom of the hill and begin your next repeat.

Good luck

I hope this helps your achieve your half marathon training goals.  Please leave your thoughts or questions in the comments section.  If you use these workouts, please let me know.  Or of you have a favourite hill workout,  please comment below.

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