Storm Jonas got you down? No indoor track? Heavy rain in the UK?
With bad weather (i.e. very, very bad), and lack of proper training facilities, hills are one of the best workouts you can do. Sure, it’s not as specific as lacing up your spikes on a synthetic track in warm dry conditions, but it’s the next best thing.
At the slower speeds, it doesn’t matter that you’ll be slipping and sliding a little bit. Lactate will set it, and you’ll have longer ground contact times anyways :)
Over Distance Special Endurance
Photo credits: http://www.fionaoutdoors.co.uk/
The term “over distance special endurance” can be translated as “over time” or “extended time” special endurance.
Did I just strike fear in short sprinters? Suddenly your short sprinters have jury duty? Saturday dental appointments?
It’s very common to have special endurance sessions (along with short speed) early in the annual plan. As you approach the competition phase, you would introduce speed endurance sessions once you have established your short speed. No use doing 80m or 120m if your 30m isn’t fast.
Australian Darren Clark would do 3 x 2 x 360m hills with an approx. 6 degree slope anywhere near 45+ seconds, and 52+ seconds for women. (For more insight on Darren Clark or Coach Mike Hurst, read my Freelap Friday Five interview)
Our male College athletes would use 50+ seconds as most of them are aiming to break 50 for the 400 meters, which is ideal. Once we get to the track, we would trim that session to only 40 seconds.
In our over distance special endurance session, we would walk down (crawl?) the hill for recovery, but our 400/800m guys would jog down the hill between the repetitions.
So these long hills has something for everyone!
For more info on hills, see My Take on Overspeed and Resisted Training Devices.
Key Points to Hill Training
A few key points to consider:
- The over distance is a refreshing way to get the special endurance sessions without getting flat or stale from the track.
- You can do these on a variety of surfaces, to reduce the wear and tear on the track with spikes.
- The slight uphill grade keeps their technique in balance, which is “staying tall” and preventing the hips from collapsing. Also, the ground rises to make contact with the feet, so athletes do not overstride, which may be beneficial to injury-proned athletes with hamstring problems.
- If you are short on time, then you could skip the weight room as the hills adds an extra “power component” to the training session. We would do hills in freezing December so athletes would only need to spend 1.5 hours at track practice to get back home and study for their final exams. Moreover, the weight room was closed as the gymnasium floor was used for the final exams! Make do with what you’ve got!