Here’s a clip of Japan’s Toshihiko Seko, a 2:08 marathon runner and twice Boston Marathon champion, performing Lydiard’s “Steep Hill Running” over Auckland’s One Tree Hill at Cornwall Park. His coach, the late Kiyoshi Nakamura, was a big Lydiard fan and took his S&B team to New Zealand every spring for an extended training camp. This is taken from a documentary of Seko training for 1984 Los Angels Olympics. It was such a short clip so we had to repeat the segment several times.
You can see that the emphasis is NOT how fast you run up the hill AT ALL. As Lydiard always said, at this point, you are trying to reintroduce POWER and FLEXIBILITY in your legs so you can run at relatively fast pace with ease once you hit the race-specific training phase. And, the slower you go up, the more resistance you will feel in your legs and gain better results. Note Seko’s up-right body position and very relaxed upper body. A good posture and good form is absolutely critical with this workout. Often people try to run up the hill FAST and they strain. It is not desirable and must be avoided. You can do popular alactic short hill sprint if you want; but it cannot replace Lydiard’s hill training at this point of the program — it has a different purpose and the timing is different. The emphasis should be on a good knee lift and “pushing” with your back leg. Note also that Seko is doing this workout in racing flats (ASICS Sortie). You can see, during the slow-motion segment, that his heels are being stretched a lot more than would in regular thick-heeled trainer. This would prepare your legs, particularly calves and Achilles tendon, for the extra stretch that would be felt in faster-paced running.
Hill Bounding is more impressive and Arthur loved to demonstrate that; but this is more suitable for most people, particularly beginners. More extensive description of Lydiard Hill Training can be seen here. You can use steps as well and, even if it’s only 30-50 steps, you work on it correctly and diligently and you WILL feel the benefits.
Below is the final mile of 1983 Fukuoka Marathon, perhaps one of the most well-known of Seko’s races where he out-sprinted Tanzania’s Juma Ikangaa in the final 100m. His devastating kick didn’t come from mad sprints up a short hill. Rather, note how SLOWLY he is going up the hill. As Lydiard often said, it is a SPECIFIC exercise. You may not necessarily need to sprint up the hill fast in order to gain a fast kick…