Why Do Hill Tempo Runs?

For a recent Tuesday session with Coached at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, we did Hill Tempo runs. These had consisted of four reps of 5 minutes in our Moderately Hard heart rate zone with 1 minute of steady zone recovery in between reps.

Coached is a heart rate based training programme that allows you to track, optimise and enjoy your training. This was founded by Ben Pulham, 37, a former national triathlete who represented New Zealand.

Tempo runs are done at lactate threshold heart rate

According to Ben, hill tempo runs are one of the harder sessions that Coached prescribes and are done at your lactate threshold heart rate, that is, the moderately hard zone. The heart rate should reach the high end of the moderately hard zone by the final section of the session. If it has entered the next zone, the Hard zone, it would mean that you have pushed too hard at the beginning.

Or else if you have to find yourself walking to bring your heart rate down, then you have also gone out too hard at the start. So pacing yourself and gauging your effort is very important here.

A great way to boost endurance and muscle power

When done correctly though, Hill Tempo runs are a great way to boost your endurance and muscle power. It builds strength in the legs and gives you an anaerobic stimulus at the same time, that you would also be able to get on the track but the advantage is that there’s less impact on the legs, though.

According to Ben too, this is an aerobic oriented session that focuses on developing your aerobic capacity and at the same time, is good in terms of getting you close to race shape. It is typically a workout that is done in the later part of the base phase of a marathon training cycle to prepare for the more race specific workouts.

Ben also added that for such workouts, paying attention to your form is important too because improper form can increase the chances of sustaining injuries.

Pay attention to your form

Said Ben, “A lot of people tend to drop their chin when they are tired and your form goes awry. Pay attention to your form at all times.”

Instead you need to focus on standing tall when running uphill with your chin parallel to the ground. You should also drive your hips to power your way upwards with your legs fully behind you.

Usage of headphones

Ben also added too, that during hard training runs such as a hill tempo run, he does not advise runners to use headphones to listen to music.

Said Ben, “You need to be in tune with your body and when you have music in your ears, you do not know what your body is telling you. To be able to judge how your body is feeling, this ability drops dramatically when you put something into your ears and so you cannot listen to your breathing or anything else. I am not anti-music but you really need to be able to dial in when you are doing hard sessions and music makes you dial out.”

However during the easier running sessions, Ben adds that it should be fine to use music in order to, relieve boredom and tune out.

Coached is offering a free 14-Day trial for runners and triathletes who are thinking of trying out the Coached programmes for themselves.

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Find out more about Coached at their website, https://www.coached.fitness.

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