July – Day 17: Hips, Glutes & Hills!

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We all know the importance of strong hips and glutes….if you’re new or have been ignoring these areas and wondering why your hips or knees ache, then it’s time to join the glute camp and build strength in these areas!

Hip and glute specific exercises are great and will help us avoid injuries and run stronger, but did you know that hill workouts are also a great way to build strength in these areas while we do what we love most…run!

Running hills is the perfect compliment to our strength routines, but please don’t think that if you do hill workouts you can skip your exercises. Yes, we still need to do both, that’s why hill running is complimentary not in replace of… moving on! 🙂

As promised, since Monday’s workout was longer, our Tuesday workout is shorter this week at only 10 minutes. But if you have a few extra minutes, the bonus is awesome and one I have been doing everyday! Don’t forget your wall sit and plank and you’re done!

Day 17 exercises:

  • Fitness Blender Glute and Thigh Routine – 10 min
  • Wall Sit – :60
  • Plank – :60
  • Bonus – Clam Video Workout – 2.5 min per leg

Fitness Blender Glute and Thigh Routine:

Bonus – Clam Video Workout: I am loving this short routine and I hope you will try it. Save it and throw it in whenever you have a few extra minutes or you’re just laying around watching TV. I’ve been loving this after a tough workout too because I feel like it gives me a good stretch and loosens me up too.

Speed Work or Strength?

Y’all know I’ve been listening to the Strength Runner podcast with Jason Fitzgerald and he has a short episode that I listened to recently that cover the importance of hill workouts, when these workouts should be done and who should run these types of workouts.

Spoiler alter — the “who” is EVERYONE! Every runner stands to benefit from the power, speed, and strength gained from structured hill workouts. (That means me too so I need to find hills more often or bite the bullet and get on my treadmill!)

“Hill workouts are the unsung hero of speed work. Any runner can do them – and every runner will benefit.” – Jason Fitzgerald

Hill workouts are hard and unpleasant. They challenge your endurance, speed, and strength. There’s no other workout like running hills and that’s just why they’re so valuable.

Running uphill (against gravity) stresses your body in a unique way that you can’t mimic on flat land. That stress results in some fantastic adaptations and benefits:

  • There’s less impact running uphill so it’s easier on your joints and connective tissues
  • Hills “force” you to run with better form, reinforcing a more efficient stride
  • Running up steep grades builds power more safely than running fast on flat terrain
  • Hills provide the most specific strength work runners could ask for
  • Hill workouts build strength, speed, endurance, VO2 Max, and every other metric runners care about!

Speed Work Options: This week we have some options. I live in flat Florida so the only way to get in hill work is to run bridges or get on the treadmill. If your situation is similar and you can’t get to a hill to get in this wokrout, then do the same tempo workout we did last week and plan ahead to try one of these hill workouts next week. I plan on doing the long rep hill workout on Tuesday and the 25 minute tempo workout on Wednesday. You can do both of these workouts close together since the long hill workout is not at top speed but instead just helping you build an aerobic base. Just make sure you roll and stretch in between these workouts and that you feel good going into the next day before you attempt the tempo again.

If you nailed the tempo workout last week and you feel good about it, stretch out the middle tempo portion and make it a 25 minute tempo instead of a 20 minute tempo. See the 20 minute workout laid out in my Garmin screen shot below.

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Option #2: If you have a good hill to run close by or a treadmill you can use then try one of the hill workouts below. Decide which workout to do based on where you are in your training cycle. If you are working towards a fall race, you are in the beginning of your training cycle and you should do the Long Hill workout (workout #2). This workout is good for building your endurance base and increasing strength.

If you have a race coming up and you want to build some power and speed that will translate into better performance sooner, then do the Short Reps workout (workout #1).

Hill Workout #1: Short Reps

Short hill repetitions are the traditional workout that most of us think of when we envision a hill workout. They’re usually 60-90 seconds in length with a jog down recovery (you turn around at the end of the rep and run easy down to the bottom before turning around to start again) done at about 3k-10k pace on a 4-7% grade hill. In other words, they’re short and fast!

These are classic VO2 Max workouts which help the body increase its ability to deliver and process oxygen to hard-working muscles. There’s also a significant strength aspect, making this a great workout for those who struggle with injuries.

Here are a couple examples of short rep hill workouts:

  • 10 x 90sec hills at 5k Pace
  • 8 x 60sec hills at 3k Pace

An example of how to set up this workout on your Garmin

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Hill Workout #2: Long Reps

These types of hill workouts can be used for a variety of reasons:

  1. Early strength-building during the base phase of training
  2. A type of tempo workout (if the pace is kept under control)
  3. A replacement for shorter hill reps if an easier day is needed

Since a slower, but longer hill workout like this is more aerobic, it’s best used in the earlier phases of training. An example of this workout is running:

  •  5 x 3 min hills @ half marathon pace with a jog down recovery. It will be tempting to run down hill to fast especially after a minute or so of cooling down but keep it super easy. If you’re speeding back up slow to a walk so you bring your heart rate down before you turn around and go back up!

An example of how to set up this workout on your Garmin

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As you can see, the long hill workout is at an easier pace, while the short rep workout is half the time but at a much harder effort. “How” you do these workouts and “when” you do these workouts is key to seeing the results you want on race day so read through the options again and think about which one is best for you depending on where you are in your training. Don’t have a race your working towards? Do the long hill workout and focus on improving your base endurance.

If you don’t have a Garmin or maybe just aren’t into tracking everything, you can do these workouts without the data or alerts, just do a 1-2 mile warm up then set up a run/walk interval timer for each segment. Remember to keep your recovery walk or jog nice and easy to bring your heart rate back down and be ready to go back up again!

Tuesday “to do” list:

  • Fitness Blender Glute and Hips Workout
  • :60 Plank
  • :60 Wall Sit
  • Bonus – Clam Video Workout
  • Plan your speed work – when will you do it and which workout will you do. Plan to have enough time to get through the workout while taking the appropriate rest intervals If you are short on time, rushing and do not take the enough rest you are not getting the same benefits from these workouts.
  • Plank a hill workout for later in the week or next week if you’re not able to get it in this week

We’ve all got goals. They might be running goals or more general fitness goals. No matter what our goals are, it’s little thing we do that get us closer to reaching them. Those little extra strength exercises. throwing in a tough hill or speed work out, planning ahead to ensure you have enough sleep, are well hydrated and have the proper nutrition, all these little things help us get closer. Scary to go after something you want when it isn’t the easy road…scary but exciting! Let’s go out and crush some goals Crew!

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