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Hill training on a hill vs on a treadmill

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Hill training on a hill vs on a treadmill

Post  Stephanie on Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:43 am

I just finished reading a book by Hudson and he swears by hill training to help injury-prone runners become injury free. I live in one of the flattest cities anywhere so hill training is next to impossible but we do have one park that has man-made hills that many local athletes train at. Unfortunately we have awfully long & vicious winters so I doubt that hill training can be conducted at this park in the winter months.

I'm still treading very lightly due to a previous injury that is now pain-free but I can still sense the weakness in the area; Hudson's belief that hills make runners less prone to injury has got me thinking. I won't be starting hills in the near future but should I consider hill-training on the TM in the late fall and into the winter, or just wait for the spring for me to hit our local hill? Would hill training on a treadmill be of any similarity to and offer the same benefits of actual hill training?
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Re: Hill training on a hill vs on a treadmill

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:49 am

In a word, yes; however, if the idea of setting incline to 5% and having to plug away at a set speed is really annoying, you could do hill sprints at the end of your easy runs. Start with 8sec intervals at a really steep gradient (8-10%) and do 4. You want the speed to be like a strides drill. Build to 12sec intervals, same gradient, up to 10. Once a week, maybe twice. Full recovery between, as these are for stability and stride, not endurance (meaning step off the treadmill between and then hop on to start again).
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Re: Hill training on a hill vs on a treadmill

Post  Schuey on Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:11 am

@Stephanie wrote:. I won't be starting hills in the near future but should I consider hill-training on the TM in the late fall and into the winter, or just wait for the spring for me to hit our local hill? Would hill training on a treadmill be of any similarity to and offer the same benefits of actual hill training?

The short answer in my opinion does a TM offer the same benefits YES. Now that is my opinion others may disagree, I will add that any running outside always seems easier to do then doing it on a TM.

The #1 reason why I feel that you gain the same benefits is from my own results in training on a TM. Like were you live Chicago is very flat, I have to travel out to the burbs or other places to hit good rolling hills. And like you well the winter can be tough to do that due to snow and well when that happens there is not a whole lot of room on the shoulder of the roads for me, snow and cars.

The winter is a very important time for me to be able to do hill training due to running Boston. I still remember going back to 2010, when I decided to put a board under the back of my treadmill to be able to simulate downhill running and also be able to do uphill running.

The bottom line is that there is no doubt that training that way for the 2010 Boston Marathon and then again for 2011 Boston Marathon I ran my best marathons. So even though it was on a TM, since I simulated what the Boston course was like all winter long on a TM until I was able to hit the roads more in early March. All that work on the TM had me more then ready to handle the ups and downs of the Boston Marathon course.

Sure people may not like the boredom of running on a TM or sure maybe you can run a little faster on a TM and etc.. There are ways to adjust for that and to me the bottom line is this you body and your fitness doesn't know any difference from a uphill or downhill on a TM vs doing it outside. A hill is a hill and as long as you are doing it your fitness and muscles in my opinion will gain the benefits that type of training has to offer. Again I would say that I'm proof that if you put in the work on the TM you will gain the benefits come race day.
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Re: Hill training on a hill vs on a treadmill

Post  mul21 on Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:17 am

What Mike said. I do 8 x 10 second hill sprints on a mill about once a week. I set the mill at 10 mph and 10% incline, jump on for 10 seconds and then take about a 45-60 second break.
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Re: Hill training on a hill vs on a treadmill

Post  Stephanie on Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:30 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:In a word, yes; however, if the idea of setting incline to 5% and having to plug away at a set speed is really annoying, you could do hill sprints at the end of your easy runs. Start with 8sec intervals at a really steep gradient (8-10%) and do 4. You want the speed to be like a strides drill. Build to 12sec intervals, same gradient, up to 10. Once a week, maybe twice. Full recovery between, as these are for stability and stride, not endurance (meaning step off the treadmill between and then hop on to start again).

Sounds great! I'll give this a try. So could I do an easy run outside and then come in a hop on & off the TM as you suggested or do you recommend doing the enitre run on the TM and then finishing with the hills?



@Schuey wrote:Sure people may not like the boredom of running on a TM or sure maybe you can run a little faster on a TM and etc.. There are ways to adjust for that and to me the bottom line is this you body and your fitness doesn't know any difference from a uphill or downhill on a TM vs doing it outside. A hill is a hill and as long as you are doing it your fitness and muscles in my opinion will gain the benefits that type of training has to offer. Again I would say that I'm proof that if you put in the work on the TM you will gain the benefits come race day.

Thanks Schuey!! I am in complete agreement!! Do you think I would benefit from incorporating these hills sooner rather than later based on the fact that Hudson recommends hill training for injury prone runners? I thought holding off on hills would be smart until I am 100% recovered but maybe now is the time to address any strength issues that may have contributed to me getting injured in the 1st place? I just don't want to do too much too soon but reading his book has made me reconsider my approach.



@mul21 wrote:What Mike said. I do 8 x 10 second hill sprints on a mill about once a week. I set the mill at 10 mph and 10% incline, jump on for 10 seconds and then take about a 45-60 second break.

Nice! I like it! Will do!!

Thanks guys!
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Re: Hill training on a hill vs on a treadmill

Post  Jerry on Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:40 pm

Poor Jerry cheats his hill repeats on a 2% "hill" tongue and pretends it works.
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Re: Hill training on a hill vs on a treadmill

Post  Liz R on Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:59 pm

It works for Jerry!

There used to be a hill workout on the RW site that was something like this: warm up for ten minutes, then 2 minutes at 1%, 2 minutes flat, 2 minutes at 2%, two minutes flat, etc up to maybe 5%, then back down. It was tough!

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Re: Hill training on a hill vs on a treadmill

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:56 pm

Stay outdoors as long as you can for the simple fact that it's less mind-numbing than a TM. Then hop on at the end. Smile
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