Running Training: Skills, Drills and Hills (Hill Repeats Session)

A three part training session last night with Purbeck Runners as we worked on running form (skills), did a series of repeats up steps (drills) and then hit some hills…

As ever, my memory of the actual session is terrible – I really need to make notes at the time! 

Prince Albert Gardens Swanage (Google Maps)

The Session

We began with a gentle jog for around one mile before pausing to begin a series of ‘skills’ that combine a warm up with improving your running form:


1) Flicking legs up behind
2) Raising knees high in front
3) Combo of flicking legs high behind and then raising knees
4) Lunges
5) Running sideways then with leg crossovers
6) Running backwards


So to the bottom of a set of steps with a path that looped round from the top and back to the bottom and the beginning of the steps again. Here we did the following drill:

3x 1 step at a time
3x 2 steps at a time
3x 3 steps at a time

Then we reversed it and ran three times down the steps and back up the path.


You can see the different sets of hills clearly in the image below, with the elevation gradually increasing with each set.

Session elevations

Session elevations

Short & Sharp x3

We then moved across to a point just around the corner which is actually the start of the Lifeboat Loop 5k. It is a short but VERY steep hill that we ran at 100% effort up three times. By this time my legs were actually shaking – a combination of the effort in this session and residual tiredness from The Beast two days before.

Medium Length & Incline x3
We then moved to the path in the centre of the picture at the top of this post which offered a gentler incline but a longer distance and ran this three times. You’ll notice that I’m not mentioning any timings with any of these repeats as it was all effort based – straight from the, ‘if it’s not hurting, you aint working’ school of training!

Long & Final All-Out x3

The final set of repeats was on a longer path which also had mini steps at two points. This was where I went all out to finish things off and by the end of the third and final repeat, I could not have run another centimetre! Job done. 

Next Training

Arghhh I have my first triathlon in ten days and I still haven’t ridden my new bike, or indeed any bike in around five years! So running may have to make way for some cross training activities with a short ride tonight, followed by a swim tomorrow evening. Then Parkrun on Saturday and the Littledown 5 mile race on Sunday (a Dorset Road Running League race).

Training: The Track Session

This week’s track session was broken down into 5 x 1000m repeats, with 2 minute rests between each. With frost beginning to settle on the ground and steamy breath rising from each person, a decent warm up was a must so I ran a 2k slow pace as soon as I arrived, building in a few dynamic stretches and sprints as I went.

Fully warmed up we took to the track did the five repeats. 1000 metres is two and a half times round the track, although it feels a lot further when you’re 800 metres into your final repeat! I perhaps was guilty of holding back a little as I was off to play football for an hour straight afterwards!

My average pace for the session was 5:40 minute miles. As stated in my previous posts about speed sessions, the focus was on maintaining a consistent pace throughout the session to keep the body’s effort increased for the full session. Well my pace looks pretty consistent! :

Consistent speed session pace

Training: Intervals and Hill Repeats

Time To Run

With my wife currently training for the London Marathon and two little kiddiewinks in the equation, finding time for the 10k training regime I’ve set myself is tricky, particularly in these dark winter evenings…

So this is how I found myself pacing up and down our hallway all dressed and ready to run at 8:45pm on a Thursday evening, waiting for the car headlights to appear on our drive. At dead on 9pm, my wife returned (she’d done 8 miles) and in a quick change of shift I ran out of the door in to the brisk night air.

The Interval Session

The problem with our village is that only certain streets have been deemed important enough to have streetlights. It’s for this reason that I was wearing a headtorch, although there’s something about being the only patch of light on a long dark street that makes you feel a bit exposed – it did make me run a bit faster though!

The aim for tonight was to get in some high paced intervals with a few hills chucked in for good measure. Tonight was essentially about making my breathing as laboured as possible, consistently for at least25-30 30 mins. I ran a 1k easy warmup before hitting a nice long flat road which is sprinted down for 2 minutess. At the end of this was a nice steep hill of 200-300 metres or so which I ran down and up and then (after an easy 2 mins recovery) sprinted back the way i’d just come.

This was followed by a series of intervals of increased pace before returning to the hill at the beginning for a sprint up it.

I was well and truly SHATTERED! Job done! Disclaimer: This isn’t how you’re meant to do an interval session – this on Run Britain is how you’re meant to do an interval session. It should be a lot more scientific with a specific pace (often your goal 10k pace) for the faster bits, but hey, it was dark and I couldn’t see my watch so I just did it based on perceived effort.

Next Training:

Easy 30 mins this evening, followed by Poole Parkrun tomorrow morning. Then a 90 minute run on Sunday. I may even join my wife for her 18 miles marathon training run on Sunday morning, eek!

An Interesting Discovery!

Last night’s run didn’t happen. By the time my wife returned from her 7 mile club run it was 9 o’clock, the rain was lashing down and to be quite honest, I could still feel a few twinges from Tuesday night’s track session. So I didn’t go our for a run. Quelle horreur! All that lost weekly mileage!
Instead, I took a piece of my own advice and did some core and leg muscle workouts. The Plank, Russian Twists, Press Ups and all manor of other exercises to strengthen up those muscles.

It was while I was doing a set of leg raises (lie on side, lift leg up then down 20 times) that I realised how WEAK my left leg is! I know I have a bad ankle as a a result of a fracture some years ago. I also knew that my body had been compensating as my Achilles tendon sometimes hurts a lot. Lying down on my left side I raised my right leg in to the air 20 times. It started off fairly easy but I quickly felt my thigh muscle (abductor?) screaming for me to stop! Then on the my left leg… 9 raises in and I had to stop. I can only do 9 raises with my left leg but 20 with my right leg. I had a feeling I wass putting more power through my right leg but I didn’t realise that I’d slowly been weakening my left leg by not using it correctly.

So three times a week from now on I’ll be raising that left leg as many times as I can!

No training again tonight. Wife out to dinner with friend so looking after the kiddiwinks.

Tomorow’s training:

It’s Saturday… and you know what Saturday means! PARKRUN wooooooohoooo! See if I can do better than that 19:09 last Saturday…