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The Unelite Athlete

There is more than one way up a mountain

In the last blog, I spoke about my plans on building a base after injury, and moving forward into a new training block but, what’s next after building a base?

Just to clarify, building a base mileage is different for everyone, and if you’re just starting out, it’s important to concentrate on getting into that routine of running the number of days you want to, then going into the base building phase.

My base phase lasted about 4 weeks but, the longer you can take at building up, the greater the rewards you will get back when it comes to the next parts of your training.

Embrace the hills

I love this part of training because there are so many benefits you get from it that are overlooked, in fact I’m sure I will unintentionally bypass one or two, not that I don’t think they are important but, because there are probably some that I don’t know about yet.

So running uphill is actually very good for our inner bodies, our skeletal structure and all those tendons and muscles suffer a much lesser impact that running hard on the flat ground. It’s also a good way to build strength in your legs. Not to mention the cardiovascular benefits because your heart and lungs will be working that extra bit harder.

Now, at first, it’s not about running up a hill as fast as you can, it’s about running form! This is so important because if you don’t take this time to really pay attention to form (the way your body moves, the way your feet hit the ground, and the way you feel), then there is a higher chance of picking up an injury, which the main thing we want to do is avoid.

After you feel you have a hang of it, you can try different workouts. One of my favourites is…

  • 4 miles uphill (steady pace)
  • 4:30 minutes recovery down
  • X7

It’s a tough one but, you have to make the workout your own to suit you. Do some experimenting, find a hill around where you live and make sure it’s not too steep!

Think about how long it takes to run up, and how long to jog back down and recover a little before the next rep. It’s not about flat out effort here, it’s about building that strength to prep your body for whatever your target may be, and it’s not about running yourself silly until you never want to look at a hill again, it’s about the confidence you will get knowing that when you’re running and you come across a big incline, you’ll know you have enough to take it on!

Always be sure to warm up first though, and finish up with a good cool down.

So it’s good to introduce one of these styles of workouts now after the base phase. It really helps building the stamina and endurance for during a race, and if you come up on the odd hill during a race, you’ll know you can power up it just like in training!

I always do a hilly long run every other week during this segment. It really helps for building your aerobic ability, and helps the legs cope with sudden pace changes. This sort of phase should last about 4-6 weeks and could include a short run on another day that has a little speed but, not too much! I’ll explain why next time, when we talk about the next segment of rounding your training off with speed!

Catch up with you soon,

Calum

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