Power Based Intervals | 80/20 Endurance

Power Based Intervals

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    How do you handle faster intervals on a hilly course when you’re running downhill? When the decline is steep enough, it becomes mechanically difficult to hit certain power targets. Or at least to hit them safely. Would it be better just to run them fairly fast, but not worry about your power target? I hope my question is making sense.

    Matt Fitzgerald

    I always did everything in my power to avoid running intervals downhill and I suggest you do the same. If it’s truly unavoidable, then just try to run as fast as you’re comfortable doing.


    The only way to truly avoid it around here would be running them on the track. It’s just a hilly area. But I know where the worst downhill slopes are and could at least try to run the intervals away from these. Thanks for your response.


    Good timing on the post! … I just ran a 15k in Schenectady, NY on Sunday. Running race pace down a long hill of blacktop with wet leaves … yikes! Definitely puts you “in the now”. It was pretty scary and I didn’t go full out downhill, but I was happy to take advantage and have a 30 second improvement on that particular mile of the race. And passing all of those that passed me on the way up was pretty satisfying, too!
    I’ve heard the recommendation to lean into it a little bit, to avoid “breaking”, but that’s not something that I feel comfortable practicing often.


    Chiming in here!
    If you train in a hilly area or have a hilly race coming up then adding in a ‘small’ amount of downhill interval/training can be helpful for working on maintaining great run form and the additional strain on the quads that downhill running causes. I would not use power as your metric for downhill intervals, instead using your ability to run really well and feel upright, smooth and not out of control as your “metric”. Your core and leg strength play a big role in running downhill well.


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