In my Active Runner email today, a video was included from Dave Scott (six time Ironman World Champ, so he probably knows a thing or two) about uphill and downhill running efficiency. When I was training for the Worcester Half, we got several tips from one of the runners and they were right in line with the advise that he gives and it has helped me a lot on the hills.
I don't think anything could have saved me from the agony that was the second (unknown to us, unrepresented on the elevation chart for the course) 900 foot elevation gain in mile 11 of the Fueled by Fine Wine half, but I do have grand plans to get some major hill-work into my current training plan.
In March I'll have a 15k that has some pretty wicked (for me) elevation gains and losses, and I want to be ready to tackle it with efficiency; I'm not afraid to walk, but I'd like to stick it out in running form as long as possible.
Most hills workouts I've found for beginning runners advise to find a hill that is about 400 meters long, and has an incline of 5-15%. Starting with 3-5 repeats (running briskly while maintaining proper form up and then recovering on the downhill by either walking or jogging) and working your way up to 7-10 repeats over the course of a training period. You can obviously do this on the treadmill with less math, but I prefer my punishments to be of the more private, on-the-road variety where random cars may witness your near cardiac arrest, but an entire football team in the adjacent weight room will not.
I have just the hill in mind, but it's on my 8 mile route, when I get to the point in my training that an 8-10 miler is part of a mid-week run, I've got big plans for it. It's a little intimidating to think how quickly that point in my training will actually come!
For now, there's a similar hill right near my house that's part of a short run (anywhere from 2-4 miles) and I'm going to add the 3-5 hill repeats into it when I run it next week...I'll report back on how much my legs hate me, and I'll probably also be reporting back on my very first foray into the world of ice baths. My friend Maggie swears by them, and I think it's time I give 'em a whirl...I just hope my girlie parts will forgive me.