Get more out of hill repeats
They’ll never be fun, so if you’re going to include hill reps in your training, then follow these four steps to make sure you at least get the most out of them…
Know your enemy
Pick a climb that takes around for to five minutes to complete, and that you know well. This will ensure you know what it takes to get to the top, and that you won’t round a corner to discover another nasty, unaccounted-for kick up. Choosing a climb of this length will keep your interval levels sensible, which means that you’ll get a lot of training benefit but won’t need to be out for hours.
A common mistake when attacking hills is to go much too hard at the bottom and end up blowing before you make it to the top. To avoid this – especially when you know you are going to have to climb the hill more than once – choose a low, easy gear right from the start and maintain a high cadence. To get the most out of your session, remain seated.
After the first minute or two of climbing, as you get higher up the hill, try switching up to a higher gear while keeping your cadence as constant as possible. After another minute, if you can, change up again. Things should be getting quite hard by now, but this is why you took the first part of the plan easy. Try to keep your effort measured as you focus on the climb.
Tough at the top
When you get within sight of the top, change up again and give it everything to the finish. Get out of the saddle here if you need to, you’ll be pushing quite a high gear for a climb. Use the ride back down to the bottom of the hill to recover, and if you find yourself freewheeling try pedalling backwards for a bit. Keeping your legs spinning is good for holding off the build-up of lactic acid.
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