Last year, before the 2011 Wildflower Triathlon, I wrote a 3 part article series:
I'd highly recommend that if you're racing Wildflower, you go click on the links above and read those articles, since they're 100% relevant to this year's race too!
But today, we're going to specifically focus on getting your legs ready for the hills that you're guaranteed to experience on the Wildflower run course, no matter which distance you're racing.
There are specific techniques you can use to get your body prepared for charging up hills and pounding down hills, so without further ado, here are the top three tips to get you ready for the hilly Wildflower run course:
#1: Use Plyos
Plyometrics are a special form of training that teaches your body how to absorb impact and then produce a contraction very quickly after impact. They're perfect for both getting the legs stronger to run up hills, and also for conditioning your bones and muscles to withstand the impact of downhill running.
Do this routine once per week between now and the race, and you'll reap the benefits of plyos. Complete 2-3 rounds of 8-10 reps per exercise as explosively as possible, and give yourself full rest between exercises (about 60-90 seconds rest).
3) Depth Jumps
#2: Strength Train
At the same time you're at the gym doing the plyos above, you can also do strength training. I recommend hitting the gym a couple times a week so that you can train your muscles to recruit more fibers, which comes in handy when running up hills. Click here for a video that shows you some of the most efficient and effective strength training exercises for triathletes.
#3: Do Drills On Hills
One of the top workouts that I give to my athletes to get them ready for a hilly course is a series of hill drills called "Lydiard Hill Repeats". By doing these drills once per week, you not only teach yourself how to be a more efficient runner on both the flats and the hills, but you also reduce the impact of sprinting and bounding on flat ground.
Lydiard Hill Repeat instructions:
Run 200-300 meters up a moderately steep hill. Preferably choose a hill that has a flat section on the tip where you can run at a hard tempo pace for 30-60 seconds, then turn around and run (quietly) back down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, turn around and go again.
Each time you climb the hill, alternate between: 1) running; 2) skipping (high knees); 3) bounding (overly exaggerated strides). The first time you do this drill, go 2 times through (total of 6 hill repeats).
Your goal is to work up to 12 repeats by adding 2 repeats each week.
That's it: include plyos, strength training and hill repeats, and you'll be ready to confidently tackle the hilly Wildflower run course. Have fun!
If you found this article helpful, then you must check out Tri-California Event's Facebook page, where I will be releasing a special race-prep secrets video to Tri-California Facebook fans only. The video will be released during race week, so be sure to get over to Tri-California on Facebook before then and become a fan so that you get access to the video!
About The Author: Ben Greenfield (pictured right) is a sports nutritionist and triathlon coach. Check out his helpful websites below, andlook for Ben to be out there on race day with you racing the Wildflower long course!