The hill workout has many benefits. It builds strength, it builds speed and it builds confidence. A cross country course will have challenges, both up and down and rough footing abound. One of my favorites was Crystal Springs in Belmont, California.
In the seventies, we would race there for three consecutive Thursdays, and the races were fantastic. The 2.9 mile course had a downhill start that was a brutal challenge up to the first mile and then had some challenging hills, finishing up with a 300 meter rush to the finish.
I remember seeing Mitch Kingery run 14:39 on a course where fifteen minutes was exceptional. Kingery was one of the toughest runners in northern California, but also a supremely nice guy, patient with the less than stellar questions that would come from young sophomores and juniors who were in awe of his running talent.
Saucony Carrera XC, photo by Saucony Running
Saucony RunBlogRun Summer Mileage Program
Thursday: 1-mile warm up, 5 hill repeats (run 200 yds uphill, turn, jog downhill to start. Repeat four more times, no rests); on the flat at the bottom of the hill, try for 8×150 yards as easy strikeouts, jogging back to start, no rest between; 1-mile easy cool down.