Yesterday I was approached by a friend and fellow runner on Facebook. She is training for a PR flat road marathon and PR hilly trail 50K. Now most of you that know me know I stack races all the time and it can be done and done well if done right. She had one simple question for me. It was "do I do hillwork, speedwork, or just run?". I thought WOW that is the hardest easy question I have ever had to answer. So after a few moments I started to formulate my response (takes this Ol Fart a few minutes to get his thoughts together).

When I started asking questions about her thoughts and training for the races I got mixed responses. A few I asked were:

- What is your marathon PR goal?
- What is your 50K PR goal?
- Which race is your "A" race?

Her responses were...well...alot like mine (no surprise there). Both races are her "A" races and she is looking for 10 minute PRs at both distances. DAMN!!!

So it prompted me to think...what is better hillwork or speedwork? Or is it just better to get out and run?

I had to think and look back at my recent training before the Bighorn 100. I ran a 2:46 at the Colorado Marathon (road) and then a 3:08 (CR) at the Carvins Cove Marathon (trail). They were both PRs and done within 4 weeks of each other.

Looking back my training was mostly flat road and speedwork versus hill trail workouts. I have always been a person that says "hillwork is speedwork in disguise" but could it be the other way around? Can speedwork be the equivalent of slower hillwork?

After researching deeper into my past races I keep seeing almost the same information. On almost all my PRs I have leaned alot on speedwork and tempo runs no matter the terrain or vertical change. It has always treated me right with the exception of the "holy lord, goat seeing, oh man I am running with Darci Africa, I think I will walk for 40 miles" DNF of Bighorn 100. That story will be up soon.

So after much thinking I told her to concentrate right now on speed with one day a week of hills. As soon as the marathon is over make the quick shift of hillwork and one day of speedwork. Well it was more indepth than that but it was tailored to her specific training schedule.

Speaking of...if I can help anyone with training schedules or advice my "door" is always open for anyone.

So there is my second post...might be a ramble. So let me know your thoughts of hillwork, speedwork, or run when it comes to your training. I would love to know your thoughts/comments.

Let the debate begin...

Veronika Maltsev
07/11/2012 1:54pm

I vote for the simplest answer: all 3 are in order (hilly, fast and long). The rest of the volume can be whatever as loong as it keeps her on her feet and trains the legs to run on empty in long distance races.

Shannon Price
07/11/2012 2:00pm

That is great advice!!!

07/11/2012 2:09pm

My initial response was "YES!" hillwork, speedwork, and just run. Mixing it up makes you a better, stronger, and faster runner overall I think. :)
Love the blog Shannon!

Shannon Price
07/11/2012 2:18pm

Agreed E!!! Thanks for the kind words. I am trying to make my blog half as good as yours. You have a dynamite one!!!

Scott Dickey
07/11/2012 10:19pm

If I had to choose, I vote for speed work. Speed work makes you efficient and it pushes your VO2 max. I am always faster on any course when doing speed work.

Course, it depends on how your body reacts to it. Speed can mess you up quickly if you are not used to it. A combination of both is probably best.


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