ASCEND TO THE GODS
It may be painful but off-road hill running improves both your endurance and your leg strength. ‘I should preface these workouts by stating that they’ll find you out, so avoid them if you have hip, glute or hamstring injuries,’ says Ceri Rees, three-time winner of the Kielder Marathon, a unique undulating course that’s notorious among endurance runners.
Find a hill that includes an 800m stretch with a gradient of between 8-15%. ‘Mine is a hill just outside Totnes in Devon, which takes about 2min 40sec to run up,’ says Rees. Power up it, then jog down to recover. The aim is to retain form, so ease back if your quads scream blue murder. When you can do five or six without dying, you’re in good shape.
‘Whatever hill you decide to run up, just remember to wear shoes with the appropriate grip,’ says Rees. ‘Salomon Fellraisers are great for grassy fell, while Inov-8 Talons are good for rocky descents.’
PLANNING YOUR SESSION
‘Do these no more than twice a month because they encourage tightness in the main muscle groups,’ says Rees.