Ever considered including a hill repeat workout into your training regime? You should! We caught up with Great Britain representative and owner of Got To Tri, Santi Brage, to give us the low down on hill repeat workouts.
Hill Repeats – A Simple But Effective Session
One of the sessions I start to introduce into my training plan from about now is a weekly hill repeat workout on the bike. While training in the hills is valuable all year round, it is particularly useful early in your annual preparation to gain strength and muscular endurance.
These sorts of sessions help to build strength and power — exactly the attributes a Triathlete needs. Being high intensity and usually under an hour, they’re also great if you’re short on time too.
The length of hill repeat workout you should ride will vary depending upon your goals as a rider. It is also influenced by your level of experience. Kerry Bircher at Revolution Cycling, says ‘The purpose of hill repeats is accumulating time at lactate threshold’*.
For example, if you have 3×8-minute hill repeats you’re accumulating 24 minutes at LT intensity. Accumulating time at this intensity forces your body to adapt so you can produce more power from the aerobic engine’’
*Lactate threshold (LT) is the exercise intensity at which the blood concentration of lactate and/or lactic acid begins to exponentially increase.
Heart rate: 95 to 100 per cent of what you can sustain for one hour
Power: 91 to 100 per cent of what you can sustain for an hour (FTP)
New to this type of training?
Generally, less experienced and less fit athletes should start with more, shorter intervals such as 4×5 minutes. This allows each interval to be completed at higher quality. As you get stronger — and as the training plans progress — the individual intervals typically get longer even if the total time at intensity stays the same.
Recovery & How Often
Recovery between intervals is typically half the time of the interval. For example, 3 minutes between 6 minute efforts, and 6 minutes between 12 minute efforts.
Do a hill repeat workout once a week or, if you are just starting these sessions, once a fortnight.
Keep recoveries half the length of the effort (eg 12 minute efforts have 6 minute recoveries)
If hill repeats are new to you, start with more shorter repeats. This will help ensure you keep the effort high enough throughout each one.
Related: Trail Running
My Hill Repeat Workout
This session is simple but effective. I always plan in a 20-minute route to the hill to train on. This allows me to warm up for 20 minutes and cool down. The warm-up should start at a low intensity and gradually increase my cadence with some short higher efforts to prime the legs.
The cool down should be the reverse of the warm-up aiming to keep the cadence high to counteract the lower cadences of hill reps.
I live in Brighton so I use Dyke Road from Saddlescombe- https://www.strava.com/segments/812306.
I time my first climb and ensure all the following climbs are around the same time. My power is around: 91 to 100% FTP. My ensuring I try and do each climb consistent I don’t go into my red. I will be starting next week with 3 climbs and over the coming months I will progress it with another one / two hill reps.
About Santi Brage
Santi Brage is one of the owners of Got To Tri and is a coach at their Mallorcan based triathlon training camps. He is a level 2 British Triathlon coach and Level 2 British cycling coach.
Santi is fortunate enough to represent Great Britain in his age group. He recently competed in the Triathlon World Championship in Cozumel Mexico and he also represented Great Britain at the 2016 Aviles ITU Duathlon World Championships.
Other middle distance triathlons he has competed in include Antwerp 70.3; Lisbon Half & Malaga Ican.
Santi is also the founder Box My Wheels which provides bike box hire and aims to take the hassle out of transporting your bike to anywhere in the world.