Hill Selection for repeats…


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    Hi all,
    I am in week 4 of my first 80/20 plan and I have Hill Repeat Run 5 coming up in 2 days… My hill selections are limited as I live in Florida- these are my 2 options within a reasonable distance:
    1. A quarter mile long straight side walk of crazy steep incline (8-9% grade)
    2. About 0.1 mile of straight paved road with a 3-4% grade incline

    Given I am supposed to run in Zone 5 in short bursts I am somewhat worried about being able to go that fast with a 8-9% incline, but the 3-4% seems, well, wimpy. Suggestions or thoughts on how to achieve the goal of workout with what I have to work with? Thanks in advance for any feedback.



    With Hill Repeats, you most likely will not hit Zone 5 with HR (It’s too short for the heart to respond) or actual pace zone. Hill Repeats are run by perceived effort. You run at a pace that FEELS like zone 5 if you were on flat land. They allow you to get that zone 5 experience at lower paces. Your pace will even adjust based on the grade as well. The key is to find a pace that gives you the zone 5 feel that can be held consistently throughout all repeats.

    I hope that helps.

    Gerald Collins
    80/20 Ambassador




    I’ll defer to the coaches on this one.

    What you describe is similar to the practical limitations I also face.

    I’m only about two months into experimenting with power, but I see enough correlation that I feel I can rely on power to substitute for Pace on hill workouts. However, some of the hill sprints are so short that even power doesn’t seem to be picked up quick enough for real-time monitoring, so I just go all out. Power is be more useful for post workout evaluation.

    If I am not mistaken the objective of hill workouts is to develop maximum strength/power. In that regard power seems to be the best metric.

    I’m just learning, so I leave it to others to correct me. I have no pride so feel free to do so…

    Leyla Porteous

    Hi JB,

    I would use the 3-4% grade for your hill repeats. You don’t need a big incline to get the benefits of hill repeats. What you are working on is ‘power” but also your run form – hills repeats are “speedwork in disguise”. So knowing that, you can use the moderate grade you have to do this training effect, or use a treadmill if available. In addition to this being sure you have some programmed strength training and doing your aerobic and interval sessions as planned will also help your run development. Don’t worry too much about the grade itself, work on that strong efficient running in those intervals.
    As mentioned above HR and pace are not super effective for short hill repeats as they lag, instead use RPE if you don’t have a run power meter.

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