Adjusting Your Training Programme

Adjusting Your Training Programme

Have you ever wondered what impact living in a hilly or flat area has on your training programme?

Should you be running for longer if your training runs are flat and should you be running less if you train in a hilly area?

That's exactly what we discuss on this video...

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Welcome on to another edition of RUN with Coach Parry. I'm Brad Brown, we've got the coach Lindsey Parry with us once again and today we are chatting again slightly about distance versus time based training programmes. But what happens when you move from hilly area to a flat area, or from a flat area to hilly area? If that makes any sort of sense. Lindsey, welcome back on to the video, it's good to get to catch up.

Good to chat, Brad.

Lindsey, great question in our forums, and it's a follow on from the video we did last week with regards to time versus distance based training programmes. And this person was asking in the forums, they've recently moved from an area where it was fairly flat where they used to do their training runs, and they now are in quite a hilly area. What they're finding is when they're training on a time based programme, they tend to be doing less distance, obviously, because the terrain's a lot harder. Is this a problem? Should they still be sticking if it was an hour run? And in that hour, where they were living, they were doing 10K's for example, now they're only doing 9k's, is that an issue? Or should they up the time in order to increase the distance? And I think this applies the other way around as well is if you do most of your training in a hilly area, and then you move to a flat area, obviously you'll be doing further, more distance, is it an issue? How do you adjust the programme if at all?


It's all about the effort


The most important adjustment is in your relative intensity. So it's finding that level that feels the same whether you're running up or down or on the flat. So it's always going to be slightly harder with the hills and you are going to be slightly more tired. But that's really the important aspect is running easy enough when you're in those those hilly areas. So you don't want to find yourself in a position where you're almost purposely digging in to get up hill.

So I would incorporate more walking in my everyday training. It's about the effort. You've got to focus on easy is easy. And it's going to be a little bit easier on the flats, and it's going to be a little bit faster. But I certainly wouldn't try and incorporate more kilometres into that harder run. You need to figure out how to run up the hills easy enough. And then obviously you don't want to be bombing down the other side, smashing it flat out so that you can catch up your average speed, you will run faster because it's downhill, you will be doing more eccentric load than you would have on the flat road when you're going downhill. So again, the downhill needs to be easy, it will be a bit faster but hat's normal.


Using a heart rate monitor or a power meter


You talking about keeping those runs easy too, the intensity. Obviously a heart rate monitor would play a big part in that to keep you I want to say honest, so to speak.

Yeah, so it would, but you have to also understand that physiology doesn't happen instantaneously. So when you hit that hill, there will be a delay as your heart rate catches up with the effort, and it can be as much as 45 to 60 seconds. And what often happens to people is that as they get to that point where the heart rate actually now starts to catch up. You think 'I'm nearly at the top of the hill, so I'm going to just tough it out'. And then actually what happens by the top of the hill, your heart rate is through the roof. So it is a good tool to use. And over three or four runs, you can figure out how much you need to back off as you get to a hill and then of course, your heart rate will stay where it needs to stay.

And the other way, of course is to get yourself a power metre, because that's a pretty instant measure of what power you're doing at that point in time. It'll give you almost immediate feedback and force you to slow down. And the other tool that I use, and obviously it's a little bit rough and it does depend a little bit on how steep the gradient of the hill is, but typically, I would say that as soon as you hit a hill, a very gradual hill, you're looking at 10 to 15 seconds slower, a medium hill you're looking at 20 to 30 seconds slower and a steep hill you're looking at 30 to 45 seconds slower on the up's versus the downs. If you use that formula, then it also will help to give you a guide of how much you need to slow down when you hit the hills.

Absolutely. Lindsey as always great to catch up.

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