Hills are a key winter session and here, level 4 endurance coach David Lowes explains how to run up them, Kenyan-style

Kenyan hills are a great way of doing a ‘tempo’ type pace on a pre-arranged route of uphill, flat and downhill terrain.

A loop can be anything from 300m-1000m or even longer – everyone’s circuit is unique. What’s crucial is that the hills are attacked with gusto and the flat sections are maintained at a hard pace. The downhill section is where you slow down to recover.

What are the benefits?

1. They are great for getting used to continual change of pace.

2. You get used to running at a high intensity (around 90%+ MHR) with integration of periods where your heart rate drops significantly, but not to levels where they are considered ‘recovered’ (around 120bpm). With your heart rate kept relatively high in the recovery phases (140-160bpm), the length of the session is dependent upon fitness.

3. There’s huge potential for variety. Sessions can vary from 5×5 minutes with 2-3 minutes recovery to 3×8 minutes with 2-3 minutes recovery right up to something like 2×15 minutes with 3-4 minutes recovery or; 1×30 minutes of Kenyan hills.

Top Tip?

Finish off a session with some faster efforts on the flat such as 4×1 minute with 1-minute recovery to stretch the legs out and keep speed endurance topped up.