Hill Sprints

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Fat Cat
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Hill Sprints

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:05 am

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Muh track and field.

Hill sprints...I've been sleeping on this forever but now it's time. I live on a ridiculously steep street and the UH track team actually uses it for their hill sprinting. As an aside, I have often sat on my porch with a cold one while the girls team does their sprints...fuckin' love those little shorts. Anyway,a few questions:

1. What is an appropriate length?

2. What is an appropriate incline?

3. What is an appropriate volume?

4. What is an appropriate frequency?

The general goals are:

-Improved cardiovascular health.

-Improved foot speed.

-Fat loss.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by aussie luke » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:29 am

Big discussion about this on the DJ forum lately. My answers would be: further than you think, less steep, less volume and less frequent than you think.

You could do worse than jogging some long hill repeats and it won’t destroy you.

Or go for an easy run then do a few strides at the end (20-30 seconds at 85-90% then jog again for recovery)

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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:43 am

Further like what?

Can't control the incline, but I can choose the least steep part if that makes a difference.

Volume like what?

Frequency like what?
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by newguy » Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:08 am

It sounds like you've got a nice challenging hill to work with.

I like programming hill sprints more like strength work.

Twice a week is great. I think twice a week is better than three times a week.

Run up. Walk down. Give plenty of rest before the next run up. You're not looking to compress rest but to run harder up them as time goes on.

Depending on the length of the hill working up to 8 to 10 hard sprints up the hill is great.

Again...for me the goal isn't to do those 8 to 10 hard sprints in less time. In fact, as you get stronger there might be a point where you need more time to recover. That's fine.

You're first times out be very conservative. Jogs are fine. Rotating a jog up, walk down, walk up, walk down, jog up is okay.

You are in good shape from lifting and hiking so you should be able to get to a good place with them soon.

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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Turdacious » Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:39 am

Fat Cat wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:05 am
The general goals are:

-Improved cardiovascular health.

-Improved foot speed.

-Fat loss.
Love hill sprints as a finisher, but they've never helped me with any of these. Fartlek/focusing on foot speed > hill sprints for most runners.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:29 pm

Turdacious wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:39 am
Fat Cat wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:05 am
The general goals are:

-Improved cardiovascular health.

-Improved foot speed.

-Fat loss.
Love hill sprints as a finisher, but they've never helped me with any of these. Fartlek/focusing on foot speed > hill sprints for most runners.
Why did you do them then? Legit question, what purpose did they serve in your training?
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Turdacious » Wed Apr 08, 2020 6:27 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:29 pm
Turdacious wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:39 am
Fat Cat wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:05 am
The general goals are:

-Improved cardiovascular health.

-Improved foot speed.

-Fat loss.
Love hill sprints as a finisher, but they've never helped me with any of these. Fartlek/focusing on foot speed > hill sprints for most runners.
Why did you do them then? Legit question, what purpose did they serve in your training?
I did them because I thought they would make me faster about 10-15 years ago, and I was dabbling into Ross Enamait's stuff (and they're a decent fit for that).
What I found was that for a heel strike runner like me, any benefits didn't really carryover formwise because hill running is generally forefoot running. The major form problems I had/have-- like poor ankle flexibility, short strides, and stiff shoulders-- weren't helped by hill running. Fartlek with a focus on form during the fast parts helped a lot more to correct these deficiencies, as well as increasing my ability to recover after a sprint while staying moving. I found that running up a long steady incline was more useful, especially when it's gentle enough that you can continue to run on the downhill portion. Also, now that my metabolism has slowed a bit, I really don't hill sprints because they kick my appetite into overdrive while other running doesn't.

If you're already at the weight you want to be at, already pretty fast, and already have great form, hill sprints might be great.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Apr 08, 2020 6:38 pm

Thanks for the detailed response. I am not at the weight I want right now, I have about 20-25 to drop. I want to be a solid 200-205. I have been counting grams of carbohydrate and calories and I'm down 6 lbs. in a little over a week, but I have a way to go.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by motherjuggs&speed » Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:47 am

Here's how I did them

Length: About 40 yards, maybe more.
Incline: Maybe 10 percent, maybe more.
Volume: 6 per session, the first two or three increasing in speed until I felt ready then three fast ones, stopping if I hit a PR or felt tired or slowing.
Frequency: Twice a week, at least 48 but ideally 72 hrs between.

Recovery was a few minutes between. This increased as I got faster. The idea was to improve speed after having been unfast for a long time and they did, a lot. My overall functioning improved as I got faster -- I felt more activated and less slowified.

If you want speed then the distance has to be short, and you have to have rest between reps. As you get faster and more able to handle the load you can add some longer runs but keep the short ones in to keep the speed.

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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:19 pm

Thanks!
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by nafod » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:19 pm

1. What is an appropriate length?

2. What is an appropriate incline?

3. What is an appropriate volume?

4. What is an appropriate frequency?

The general goals are:

-Improved cardiovascular health.

-Improved foot speed.

-Fat loss.
Hills have been my go-to workout since forever. I'll give my comments.

My regular site at a park is about 100 yards with 40 ft gain. I'll jog to it from the house, about a mile or so, then do 10 sprints up with slow walks down. do this 2-3 times a week, or something of a similar ilk (got a bike hill climb on my regular circuit). Definitely a thumbs up on all aspects of fitness, cardio and fat loss, but nothing for leg speed. That requires plain old sprinting, maybe even on a slight downhill to really stride it out.

But I am just an old guy who was never fast.

Do the same routine now, but with a 40-45 LB backpack and speed hike it.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by motherjuggs&speed » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:58 pm

100 yards on a hill is too long for speed. For most people hills wouldn't be a good fit for speed work. For speed I'd start with flying 30s on grass at first to get the feel, then on a track or hard dirt. Hills worked well for me since I was too weak and uncoordinated after an injury to sprint normally. They are also good for someone heavy since the foot strike is probably better at first. Also, the fact that you can't go as fast is good at first for people who haven't run fast since they were getting yelled at by a suspiciously feely gym teacher. I think it's easier to start with hills. Having a little resistance makes it easier in ways I'm too tired to describe correctly, might try to clarify later.

You entrain what you're really doing. So since no one can really sprint up a long steep hill you're actually entraining slowness. For a long hill I'd say to do it at a pace that's seems like under 75%. For speed work it's the same idea as for cardio, big or little but not in the middle. Above 90% or below 75%, and most people do tempo and endurance type runs too fast for their speed.

I should say my main source for most of this is having been a Charlie Francis nut trapeze artist.

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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Hanglow Joe » Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:31 am

Never had speed when I played soccer, basketball and baseball in high school. Nothing is going to help my white man's disease

Haven't done them in a couple of years. Great workout, go about 85-90%. I still remember the lactic acid pain I had in my legs 2 days later.

10 @ 75 yards, walk back. Do again.

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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by machinehead » Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:38 am

My old high school track coach had a training tool he used to increase speed in his sprinters which was to have them sprint down the hill -- his theory was it trains you to move your feet at a rapid pace. Never really tried it myself.

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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by nafod » Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:25 pm

When I deployed to Africa in 2009-2010 (holy shit, was it that long ago?) I would do runs along the fence line at night, about 3-4 miles, mixing in about 10 x 200-300 meter sprints, not measured exactly. That was a replacement for my hill climbs I left back home. Both got the heart rate way up, but completely different feeling. Sore in a new way. It was interesting to compare.

They had coolers with iced down bottled water along the route, 90 degrees at 2:00 AM, 100% humidity, under the yellow perimeter lights. Weird Africa animals on the other side of the fence. It was surreal.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Bram » Sat Apr 11, 2020 6:21 pm

I like 3-5 hill/stair sprints of 8-12 seconds duration after a 30-45 minute run. 1-2 days a week.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Cayenne » Sat Apr 11, 2020 10:58 pm

Information from Ross is always solid.

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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Bennyonesix1 » Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:10 pm

I was fascinated with the idea of hill sprints for a while. Never did much honestly. It's hard work but I could never make it pay off as well as other options.

I agree with those that say hill sprints will slow you down. The steeper the incline the worse it is. I once ran hills with a 170bpm metronome program in headphones to counteract the decrease in cadence. I made it work but it shortened my stride measurably. Obv, that is not what one wants. And, why running on a decline is the traditional approach to increasing speed: higher cadence and longer stride.

Losing weight is about decreasing calories and that is best dealt with via diet.

As far as conditioning, I'd bet hindu squats for time would be better. Esp w/ a weight vest.

PHA would be loads better.

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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Alfred_E._Neuman » Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:15 pm

I forget which running coach it was, but he said that hill sprints are strength work for runners.
For turnover and stride length development (which = speed) he liked some sort of overspeed work. Either running down a slight incline or strides pulled by a bungee or some such that made you run faster without any more effort.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Bram » Mon Apr 13, 2020 12:52 am

From a purely anecdotal point of view....

There's a maybe 100 meter hill by my gym and I've taken plenty of personal training clients out there and had them run sprints.

It seems that when they run the full hill they become less explosive on their subsequent workouts: jump height, punching and kicking the bag for power, medicine ball slams.

But if I keep it to about 50-60% of the hill they become more explosive. I did mention that 8-12 second sprints were what I preferred, but it seemed when they did sprints of about 8 seconds or longer I noticed the decline in their next workout.

If nothing else, it's worth monitoring in your own training and paying attention if you feel a drain or a boost.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:34 pm

Bram wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 6:21 pm
I like 3-5 hill/stair sprints of 8-12 seconds duration after a 30-45 minute run. 1-2 days a week.
This is pretty much what I'm doing. Just finishing my normal hill work with a few sprints, once or twice a week. But I started with just ONE sprint at very moderate pace. I will slowly increase the volume and try to observe how it affects me. I wouldn't be surprised if, over the short term, performance might suffer but I'd like to think that there's some value to them and explore that. I do enough LSD stuff already, but I feel slow.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Bennyonesix1 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:59 pm

Not being a jerk but you are slow because you are overweight, old, doing too much other training and probably have a slow cadence and short stride (same boat I'm in). If you want to be fast 1) lose a lot of weight 2) drop all other weight training 3) increase your cadence and 4) increase your stride.

I have no background to say something like this but I really do think lower ab strength plays into speed via leg turnover and routing power into the torso. Meaning 100 leg raises with feet rotated out from the hips to reduce hip flexor action being easy level strength.

If you just want to get a little faster run downhill instead of uphill.

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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Fat Cat » Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:01 pm

Bennyonesix1 wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:59 pm
Not being a jerk but you are slow because you are overweight, old, doing too much other training and probably have a slow cadence and short stride (same boat I'm in). If you want to be fast 1) lose a lot of weight 2) drop all other weight training 3) increase your cadence and 4) increase your stride.

I have no background to say something like this but I really do think lower ab strength plays into speed via leg turnover and routing power into the torso. Meaning 100 leg raises with feet rotated out from the hips to reduce hip flexor action being easy level strength.

If you just want to get a little faster run downhill instead of uphill.
The truth can't be mean, so don't worry about it. I can't do anything about my age, but I am dropping weight to the tune of 10 lbs in the past 14 days. I'm not practicing running downhill because I don't want to and its hard on the joints. I am working on increasing my cadence, but I think because I do all of my running and hiking uphill, I do have a short stride.
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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Bennyonesix1 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:40 am

Downhill sprint training I've only seen done on super low inclines. Nothing like a hill that would be sprinted up.

Do you want to get quicker or faster? I distinguish between the two, probably wrongly.

Quicker is change of direction and very short accelerations.

Faster is straight line speed.

Shuttle runs and suicides and carioca type drills worked for me for quickness.

Faster was really only via getting a lot skinnier for me. I'm 6'5 and I couldn't break a 6 min mile until I dropped to 180 lol. And I don't mean leaner, I mean I had to drop muscle as well.

The only "strength" work that made me faster was laps on the track with breaks to do freehand squats. Got that from Stew Smith I think. But looking back that just likely improved my ability to hold a given speed longer.

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Re: Hill Sprints

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:52 am

re: quicker vs. faster, I guess I was mostly thinking about faster. Running from or after someone. I was up to 235, I'm now about 225, looking to drop to 205. I'm reconciled with the idea that I will never be fast, but I could be faster than I am, and for fun I would like to try.
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