/ Training plan for a run up a hill...

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Tall Clare - on 17 Jan 2014

This is all hypothetical at this stage, so please bear with me.

If a person wasn't particularly great at running (e.g. had just cracked 5k in just over 30 minutes) but they had a goal of being able to run up a hill of approximately Snowdon height, and the timescale was under a year, how would you advise them to structure their training to reach this goal?

I appreciate that this question involves quite a lot of unknowns.
Hardonicus - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:
I think you could make it to the top in under a year. Probably an hour and a bit would do it...
Post edited at 10:13
Tall Clare - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Hardonicus:

Hah! The point at which one was going to have to run up the hill was less than a year from now! :-P
tony on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:

There's no training for running up hills like running up hills. Depending on the nature of the hill you're aiming to run up, you may well be walking some of the time - even gnarly hill-racers will walk some sections, albeit quickly.

You'll want a mixed programme. Some hill reps will be good - 8 x 2 minute reps, run up, jog down and repeat without rest. Do some run/walk combinations - find a longish hill, run for a bit, walk for a bit, run for a bit, and so on. Over time, run for more than you're walking.

Get used to running on uneven terrain. Apart from it being good preparation for a big hill run, the unevenness helps work more muscles in your legs and core and improves overall strength.

All the really good hill runners I know do quite a lot of cycling, so there's something to be said for that, and it's good to have a change in routine. It'll reduce the chances of running-related injuries.

Don't forget that if you go up a hill the size of Snowdon, you'll have to come down. Feeling confident coming down is really important, so practice coming down different slopes on different types of terrain.
Banned User 77 - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:

Maybe just some extra leg work, as Tony says plenty of good runners bike.

But Id just do more running. Whats your weekly mileage now?

Add in hillier runs, hill reps.. Snowdon's fairly runnable for a good chunk. The hardest bits the road at the start.
The New NickB - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:

Find a hill or a couple of hills and run / walk them like when you started your 5k plan, reducing the walking and increasing the reps as you get better.

Get on some big hills, even just walking quickly up them.

Keep up with the other running to maintain a reasonable mileage.
The New NickB - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:

How far are you from Pen-y-gent? That would be a good intermediate target to try and run most of the way up.
Flinticus - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:

Listen to some Kate Bush
Carolyn - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:

Run. And go up some hills, quickly.


I'm no expert, but the one thing I find gets me fit is walking up *steep* hills quickly, as fast as you can without actually stopping, with a reasonably heavy sac - then makes running up gentler hills with minimal kit seem much easier.
altirando - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:

On the leg press machine in the gym I use the legs alternately in a walking cadence on a weight about fifty percent more than my body weight so that simulates going uphill. You could try a running cadence.
The Potato - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:
Depending on what area you are in I could suggest some routes that could help with training.
I wrote a route for a shortish run in Abergwyngregyn a while ago

Approximately 5 miles.

Turn off the A55 J13 at Abergwyngregyn, follow signs to the car parking area which is alongside the A55. Walk back towards the village and there is a public convenience if needed / changing area.

Run up through the village and take the second public footpath to the right (the one up the steep hill!. This is quite a steep ascent but not long so give it some beans!
When you reach a wide gravel track turn left uphill which gradually gets easier, and you are rewarded with a long grassy descent and a great view in all directions.
Follow the north wales footpath all the way around the valley heading towards the waterfalls, on a mix of grass gravel and rough stones. After the big waterfall you can continue down along the gravel track or turn up to the right and follow the path down through the wood along a nice cushioned pine track.
Follow any route as they all head back down to the village.

POI : A few! the sea view, the waterfalls, the forest.....

For general training, get doing some weighted squats and lunges, good form and posture is more important than number of reps or weight. If you arent sure how to do them have a look on youtube or similar, or if you are a member of a gym ask one of the staff to check you.
As mentioned the leg press is good, the heavier the better - im 74kg and I usually press 180kg, so dont go off bodyweight, just do what feels good.

As with most running, do some days distance, some days speed work, some days hill work, and ensure plenty of rest days to allow muscles to repair and recover.

Keep hydrated throughout training and long runs.

Most of all, get on the trails and enjoy both the exertion and the scenery
Post edited at 23:35
Bob on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:

Find a hill that takes about 3 minutes to run up, not too steep but not too shallow either, about 16% - 20% is the Goldilocks zone. Go for a couple of miles gentle warm up jogging/running to get to the foot of the hill then run up the hill as hard as possible. At the top, turn round and jog gently back down, as soon as you are at the bottom, blast back up again. Do a set of four then go for a gentle jog to cool down.

Basic points:
1. do the hill as hard as possible.
2. The descent is your recuperation time.
3. only do one session a week.
4. It hurts.

Doing the above (fortunately my chosen hill finished next to our house) I went from 64mins for one of my standard runs to 49mins. I also was running all the uphills whereas before I'd have to stop and start walking. It made a massive difference for what is quite a short session.
andymac - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:

Have you tried power walking .

I am in the process of trying to evolve from walking to running.

And yes it hurts.

Small steps.

Personally ,I find its all about will power.
Tall Clare - on 20 Jan 2014
In reply to all:

Thanks for the responses - some very useful thoughts. I'm a proper noob so a lot of it is beyond me just at the moment but I've put together a plan with some useful milestones/challenges along the way.

DancingOnRock - on 20 Jan 2014
In reply to Tall Clare:

Before you even start on the speedwork or hill work you'll need to be able to run about 5 miles if you're going up Snowdon from Lamberis. I would suggest if you can't run 10miles you'll not run up and even manage to walk back down.

As others have said, hardly anyone can run all the way up Snowdon. Go to YouTube and search Snowdon International mountain race. It's hard!

So get some miles in those legs. About 25miles a week should do it with a long run of 10miles once a week.
Build up slowly like you did to 5k. Adding about a mile to your longest run each week while keeping the others at around 5k.

Good luck.

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