/ Training for a hilly off road 13 miler

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Ged Desforges 16 Jul 2019

 I'm entering the Hameldown Hammer race in February, which is a reasonably hilly 13 mile fell race (although largely on good paths).  I've not done much running in the last few years, but have a background of quite a bit, and have kept fairly fit with a lot of walking, biking, and easy occasional runs in that time.  I'd like to put in some decent training over the winter to try and do it reaosnably fast (for me).  I could comfortably go and run the thing today and finish it, but wouldn't be fast.  Time is fairly limited, so quite keen to go for the 3 quality sessions a week approach.  As a starting point, I went out for 9 miles, and was managing about 9 minute miles (although admittedly a bit hungover, and very hot day).  Faster than 7 min 30 miles feels quite hard at the moment.  So I feel like speed/hill work needs to be my priority.

So, a vague plan I had was:

day 1; very short hill sprint intervals (10 seconds) x 6-8, followed by a fast 5 miles (possibly later in the day)

day 2; longer hill intervals (90 seconds) x 6-8 followed by a fast 5 miles

day 3; long run, 8-10 miles, trying to increase pace each week.

Any thoughts on this?  Am I way off the mark? More mileage needed?

Advice much appreciated

Ged

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SouthernSteve 16 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

I would get your long slow run distance up to build endurance and run a rolling hilly route - perhaps 2-2.5 hours as well as the specific speed and hill work

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summo 16 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

For the next 2 months i would first just develop a training base. Gettimg out running  few times a week. Then say september onwards I would aim do something like;

Tues, 15min warm up, short hill efforts. 15min cool down

Friday same warm up/down, long intervals.

Sunday long slow run, 90mins plus.

Anything extra added in can be 4-5m recovery run, easy cycle or similar. 

* adjust milages to current fitness. 

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fred99 16 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

I'd also make sure that you have a number of training runs that contain hills, or even some steps, that go on for a fair distance.

Then just keep using these hills until your body is simply used to it.

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Ged Desforges 16 Jul 2019
In reply to summo:

Thanks, sounds wise.  I'll just go for runs until sept, and worry about intervals etc then

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Tom Briggs 16 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

It's like climbing. If you took a similar approach you would do OK. If you want to finish strong/avoid injury etc that's not much running. I've got significantly fitter by running 4 or 5 times a wk, rather than 3 or 4. I do workouts, but my improved strength and stamina (and therefore speed over longer distances) has come from more volume.

Plus it's a lot easier to get out of the door for an enjoyable, aerobic run, rather than a savage workout!

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dh73 16 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

I think I differ to most other posters on this thread in thinking that your original plan is quite good. I think hill repeats are brilliant. they build strength and fitness without the risk of injury posed by either flat intervals (which are done much faster), or long runs.

I would make the intervals a bit longer though - the sprints at about 25-30 seconds, and the long ones between 2-3 minutes

add in a gym session of squats; split squats and dead lifts and you will be laughing!

feel free to ignore this advice but it helps me and I can't be arsed with long rungs - I get bored

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Ged Desforges 16 Jul 2019
In reply to Tom Briggs:

Interesting.  I was actually think the exact opposite in terms of applying climbing training.  I've always found that when I'm strong, I can get away with being less fit.  I figured that since I can already run 13 hilly miles, I'd be better off just getting faster.  But I take your point.  Will try and get some more miles in

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Ged Desforges 16 Jul 2019
In reply to dh73:

Thanks.  I'm up for long runs, but just need to be realistic in terms of time (family and job).  Hence thinking that some interval work could be a good plan.

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ClimberEd 16 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

Your training seems lack easy running.

From what you have said I would have though that it is a recipe for injury but will obviously depend on how old you are etc.

How long until the race? Do you have time to do a reasonable build up. You've asked more milage needed, that will depend on your starting point.

Also if you can get out for even 20mins on a couple of extra days it can make all the difference (run slowly).

I'd do most of my runs in the hills as well, as the race is hilly.

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Tom Briggs 16 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

When I said "it's like climbing" what I meant was just as in climbing you'd do 'OK' on a climbing project off 3 sessions of training a week.

I see what you mean though. It depends where your natural strengths lie (speed or stamina) and what you mean by "a background of quite a bit".

I can maintain a reasonable climbing level off 3 sessions a week of bouldering/strength/PE based on 30+ years of base. I don't have the same background in running!

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The New NickB 16 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

Intervals are good, but you are aiming for hilly half rather than 800m on the track, so they should be longer.

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wbo 16 Jul 2019
In reply to The New NickB:. That's a good point - you're looking at the best part of two hours of steady, mostly aerobic work.

Get used to the distance, and three runs , then build a session in.  If you make it decent length you may well not want a second. Try doing something like 6 times a kilo on rolling terrain, build down to one minute recovery

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Dave B 16 Jul 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

I concur with nick

The 10 second hill reps aren't what you need. You will shortish bursts of power for the undulating terrain, but it will be more pushing the longer reps of about 60 seconds and at a rate that is hard ish, but one you can then carry on running at, not be reduced to a complete standstill or a slow walk.  

Maybe 15-20 of these.. With a warm up and warm Down is where I would be aiming for. Start with fewer. 

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mrphilipoldham 16 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

I’m not familiar with the race but you’ll make up a lot of time on the downhill section so if there’s any technical bits or on any loose, slippery surfaces then it might be worth spending a bit of time practising on those too. 

Other than that, hills, hills and more hills.. if you can give yourself the edge getting up those then sheer race determination will see  you keep ahead of anyone on your tail on race day. 

I did Charlesworth & Chisworth Carnival 5k fell race on Saturday after nothing more than a bit of mileage (400k since New Year, zero managed training plan, all spontaneous and sporadic) and managed to finish 5th, purely on the hill strength. It’s an up-flat-down course so I knew if I was in a good position I wouldn’t need to do much extra to hold it once on the top. 

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Wainers44 17 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

"I’m not familiar with the race but you’ll make up a lot of time on the downhill section so if there’s any technical bits or on any loose, slippery surfaces then it might be worth spending a bit of time practising on those too." 

Agree with this!! 

The course has a couple of pretty steep sections and if you can run up those, even  after intervals etc, then well done. Much more important is running down them like you are being chased by wolves! 😀

Prepare to power walk up the steep bits, and in doing so you will pass many trying  to run, and you will use less energy. 

Can't add much to the good thoughts on training except that there are a couple of excellent shorter races in the area before the hammer that provide great training and self measurement opportunities. 

The Bovey Beauty is a short blast but involves climbing and descending the sides of Lustleigh Cleve 4 times. The other is the Dartmoor Volcano from Scorriton, with tonnes of climb and a wonderful shattered and shattering descent down a granite track to the finish line! 

Post edited at 06:23
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steveriley 17 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

I find something like this hill session quite useful - local hill 5 mins warm up from home. Roughly 200’ climb, taking 2+ mins. 3x reps. Similar ascent next door, 3x reps. Hard enough session and you’ve only ever got 2 more to do of a particular hill if you’re suffering (rather than getting bogged down in the middle of 10 reps or whatever). 1200’ of climbing and all done in around 40 mins, home for tea. 

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DancingOnRock 17 Jul 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

A good hill rep session is 30s,45s,60s x5

I’d be looking at 6x1000m repeats for interval training.

Then get out for a long 15mile run at an easy pace. 

Chuck in easy running to top up mileage with a couple of miles warmup and couple of miles cool down to the interval sessions. 

Post edited at 08:44
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iusedtoclimb 01 Aug 2019
In reply to Dave B:

I just did Ronda del cims which is 105 miles. I got a coach leading up to it (Paul Tierney) and I was doing 10 second hill sprints. I got a really steep hill and went as hard as I could. Never felt so strong as I did in the later part of Ronda climbing another Pyrenees mountain.

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dh73 02 Aug 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

> I just did Ronda del cims which is 105 miles. I got a coach leading up to it (Paul Tierney) and I was doing 10 second hill sprints. I got a really steep hill and went as hard as I could. Never felt so strong as I did in the later part of Ronda climbing another Pyrenees mountain.


that's interesting - such short hill work for long distance. did he have you doing hill intervals of other distance, or just the really short ones?

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Ridge 02 Aug 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

What I don't recommend is forgetting all about that hilly 13 miler until your wife mentions it's next week, then going out on a baking hot evening and doing 2000ft of ascent and 11 and a bit miles on the steepest, stoniest ascents and descents you can find, (wearing a pair of trainers you haven't done that sort of run in), as a 'confidence building' run...

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iusedtoclimb 02 Aug 2019
In reply to dh73:

There were also longer ones a real mix. But last few before the event 10 second blasts. Loved and hated them!!!

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Ged Desforges 02 Aug 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

I seems to make sense. In climbing, you don't train on 30 minute routes for trad climbing, you do some fingerboard, some circuits, and some long plodding. 

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petermartinez 03 Aug 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

Best of luck! Keep doing hard work it will take you to success and you will be achieving your goals.

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Roadrunner6 24 Aug 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

I'd just focus on base building first, ideally more than 3 runs a week, don't go too slow, but no need to hammer every run.

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Roadrunner6 24 Aug 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

> I just did Ronda del cims which is 105 miles. I got a coach leading up to it (Paul Tierney) and I was doing 10 second hill sprints. I got a really steep hill and went as hard as I could. Never felt so strong as I did in the later part of Ronda climbing another Pyrenees mountain.

But that's taking one specific part of the plan and attributing the strength to it..

Short hill sprints help and are effective but they don't give you the CV engine.

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Ged Desforges 25 Aug 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

I don't think he was suggesting only doing those... 

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The New NickB 25 Aug 2019
In reply to Ged Desforges:

> I don't think he was suggesting only doing those... 

However, the OP is talking about only doing three runs a week, so the question is what sessions will give most benefit for that limited training, short reps almost certainly isn’t the answer.

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SouthernSteve 25 Aug 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

I agree that they are not going to help much on the endurance side, but mentally, pushing really hard for hill repeats might be useful.

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Roadrunner6 25 Aug 2019
In reply to SouthernSteve:

But if you have a big engine you don't need to push hard..

Basically running is a long term thing, gains come slowly. I coach and much of the drills I add help but also just help with the monotony of training and help time pass. The key is consistency. The more we can vary training and make it enjoyable the more they will do. 

I'm not saying short hill sprints won't help physiologically, they certainly do.

and I'm 1-0 against Paul!

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iusedtoclimb 26 Aug 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

I loved the hill sprints, you went home feeling like you had really done a good real hard workout.

i agree with something like Ronda it is years of endurance.

at the end of the day success or failure is mostly in your head. I knew when I lined up at the start that a) everyone there was as fit or fitter than me and b) half wouldn’t finish.

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