What Pace Or Effort Should I Run Hill Repeats?

We get this question a lot from clients since we have a clear purpose/intensity behind our main training types (Easy, Threshold, Marathon, Interval, Repetition, Fast Reps) but not for hill repeats. We see hill training as Repetition work but with added resistance. Just like Reps, hill repeats help improve speed and economy.

In general, you should run hills at the same effort as Reps (current 1-mile race pace). They should not be sprints so you want to focus on running with good mechanics and make sure you’re not tightening up a lot near the top of the hill. Run hills fast but strong and relaxed throughout. Our concern with hills is always regarding the repeated downhill running between the work portion. Make sure to be soft/quiet on your feet running down the hill to reduce impact and ensure that you are taking enough time so you’re fully recovered between each.

Is Training An Art Or A Science?


By Malindi Elmore

I believe that there is “more than one way to skin a cat” when it comes to training programs. Certain key principles, such as consistency, health and variety are staples to a strong program but the specifics can vary dramatically from one program to another.

Boston Marathon Racing Tips

We asked Run SMART coaches Heidi Peoples and Ann Alyanak for some last minute Boston Marathon tips. Both coaches know the course well. Ann was 8th female overall at Boston in 2007 and Heidi ran 2:45 at Boston in 2010.

Heidi Peoples:  The Boston Marathon is an incredible event but can definitely be overwhelming. I felt like an ant in an anthill following crowds to the expo, church, subways, dinner, and even the hotel. Everyone seems like they are going the same place, doing the same things to prepare for the marathon. Mentally it can be exhausting! Since I ran in the elite field of women, my experience was a bit unique – no crowds at the start, and the field of women separated rather quickly. I went out fast to stay with a group, and paid for it at the end of the race.

What Is The Purpose Of Doing Strides?

Today’s Ask a Coach question comes from Pat about the the purpose of post-run “strides.”

Question:  Can The Run SMART Project do a video on strides? I’ve always been confused on the purpose of doing strides and the proper pace for them. I’m familiar with coach Jack Daniels’ training paces (Easy, Threshold, Interval, and Repetitions) but don’t know how strides fit in. Are they at Rep pace, but shorter distance? Thanks.

Will Running A Marathon At Low Altitude Slow Me Down?

Today’s Ask A Coach question comes from Lior who is training for the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon in Phoenix.

Question: Will I lose time because of the low altitude (1350 feet) compared to all of my sea level marathons? Is it going to affect my performance (targeting sub 2:45) even by as little as one minute or so?

Run SMART Coach: Coach Daniels says the effects of altitude on endurance performance starts at an altitude of about 1,000 meters (roughly 3,000 feet). An altitude of 1,000 feet will have no impact on your performance. Stick to your normal game plan and good luck going after sub-2:45!

Email [email protected] if you have a question you’d like one of our coaches to answer.

Science Behind Low Calorie Energy Drinks Like 5-hr Energy

Latest Ask a Coach question comes from reader Pat regarding the efficacy of low calorie “energy” drinks:

Question: I recently saw some people taking a low calorie energy drink/shot like 5-hour Energy before a half marathon. Is there any science behind those high B vitamin drinks? By definition a calorie is a unit of energy, so if those drinks have little to no calories, then they can’t have much energy, right? Are they tricking our bodies into feeling more energetic?

Maintaining Running-Specific Musculoskeletal Adaptations

Kasie from Vermont asks:  I am a coach in northern Vermont and many of the runners I work with are also nordic skiers.  I’ve noticed an injury trend in the springtime as the high school runners switch over to the spring track season and as the adult runners jump into spring marathon training.  While these runners maintain, or often improve, their cardiovascular fitness from skiing during the winter they do not seem to maintain the musculoskeletal adaptations.  In order to help with this transition, I have advised keeping up with a certain amount of running during the winter season.

My question is, how much on the ground running is needed to maintain running-specific, impact-related adaptations?

Ask A Coach: Should I Reduce My Stride Length?

Question: Jack Daniels has done some studies on premier runners and found their stride rate to be 180+ strides a minute. Is this for a particular distance race such as half and full marathons or is this for all distances from 5K and up?

I am training for a half marathon and my stride rate is at 160 strides a minute.  Should I try to reduce my stride length to achieve a higher stride rate or should I stay where I am and try something different?

Jack Daniels: Integrating Hill Training Into Your Marathon Plan

Question: I would like to know your recommendation for integrating hill training into a marathon program. Specifically:

  1. When to start/end training (at what point in a typical 24 week cycle?)
  2. What format of hill training (true Lydiard hill circuits (bound up, recover @ top, stride down, 3X150M strides, repeat), normal :60-:30 second hill reps with short rest (VO2 workout), uphill tempo runs, etc).

Run SMART Coach Jack Daniels: I like to think of hill training as another form of resistance training, and certainly resistance training can benefit a runner.  Resistance training could be hill running, or squats in the gym or circuit training, bounding, or deep-water running, etc.  In other words, training that may be overall beneficial for the development of a runner in terms of holding off injury or developing muscles that may normally become fatigued in races of various distances.

Ask A Coach: What Is Your Opinion On Stretching Before Runs?


I was wondering as accomplished coaches and runners what your opinion is on stretching before you run?  I know that there is a major difference to dynamic and static stretching, but does either in your mind have value, especially to younger runners?