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Benefits of Hillwork by Jamie Pang

I'm loving hillwork. Though the workout is much shorter than the time taken to do a 20K or worse 30K, it still leaves you very much satisfied...and alive. It's difficult not to feel alive especially when your lungs are worked near the max and your legs and arms are pumping like mad. Incidentally "mad" is also what the casual walkers also think of you as you pass them repeatedly up and down the incline. A 1 lap warm-up around the lake was followed by some stretching before another lap, this time via the Carcosa route. After that I ran 2 sets (3x2) of steps at the Panggung (outdoor theatre) before rounding the morning off with 3x300m of hill tempos. Since I wasn't running as often nowadays, I decided that 300m was sufficient but in reality the minimum distance of the climb should be from 400m to 800m. I really enjoyed the 3 variations of hillwork and my legs were still alright. No sores on Sunday and today.

I believe hillwork works the same as tempos in that it perks up your lactate threshold thereby increasing your tolerance of lactic acid accumulation. As a result your running economy (ability to process O2) improves. If you incorporate steps or intervals into your regime, your leg turnover also quickens, making you a stronger runner. You will also develop the kick necessary for a strong finish.

Some tips on how to handle the hilly workouts:

  • Warm-up for 2K, followed by stretching
  • Have ready your plan before-hand ie the number of sets you want to accomplish
  • Start out slow and gradually increase the intensity over the repeats. Your goal is to complete your plan
  • For hills, choose a stretch that's at least 400m and don't slow down towards the top. Run through.
  • For steps, focus on the leg lifts and steps, keeping your concentration on your form
  • Drive your arms but yet keep them swinging relaxed
    Maintain an upright torso with your head looking forward.
  • Looking downwards won't aid intake of air
  • Reaching the top, walk back down again. Downhill running presents a greater chance of injuries than uphill where there's much lesser pounding
  • Running hills should only be attempted if you're not a beginner. Doing too much too soon will only bring about injuries such as ITB. For more info on ITB, check out here and here
  • Finish your workout by warming down for 2K and stretching




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