To lift or not to lift? Find out how building muscle could sharpen your race performance
Increasing your run strength can be done simply by adding hill repeats and hilly runs to your schedule. Hill work gives you the ability to power over hills and will help you keep your form at the 35K mark of an Ironman. Ultramarathon star Dean Karnazes, who in 2006 ran 50 marathons in 50 days in the 50 US states, says the hilly runs near his home in San Fransicso helped develop his strength and stamina.
As with cycling, you need to build your efforts and make them specific for your type of racing. Intervals of 4x1 minute with two minutes’ rest work well to start and you can build from there. Short-course athletes should perform shorter bouts of hills, up to 8x3 minutes, while Ironman hopefuls should work up to using a hilly course for their long run.
A key with running is to keep your cadence high, 180 foot strikes per minute, to create a fast firing pattern and make sure your form stays strong. The treadmill has a tendency to slow down a runner’s cadence, which is hard to overcome once you begin running outside. With running it is better to do the hill workout outside if possible.
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