If you’re racing a hilly course, don’t forget to include some downhill running intervals in your schedule.
Downhill running requires a different kind of strength than what we think of when we think hill strength; eccentric vs. concentric muscular contractions. Most endurance athletes include some form of ‘hill repeats’ in their training schedule, typically performed as hard uphill, easy downhill. A surprise to many is how muscularly fatiguing extended downhills can be in their race!
Don’t get caught off guard and lose valuable time in your next hilly race, by incorporating some fast downhill running in your program.
Here is a favorite of mine when preparing for the hilly XTERRA races of the Mountain Championships, USA Championships, and World Championship (for more XTERRA USA & World Champs training ideas click HERE)…
- 5:00 dynamic warm-up drills
- 5:00 easy running
- 5:00 building effort
MAIN SET: Performed on a 1 mile off-road hill climb, gaining about 600 feet elevation. If you don’t have large hills to run, you can run multiple shorter repeats.
2-4 rounds of:
- Run uphill hard (appx. 10:00)
- Rest 1:00 at the top
- Run downhill fast! (appx. 6:00)
- Rest 1:00 at the bottom
Goal is to maintain pace (interval times remain similar without dropping off more than 15-20 seconds from the first rep). If paces drop, you likely ran too fast on the first one.
- 10:00 easy run
- 5:00 walk
- Total time is 60-90 minutes.