Hill / Bridge Repeats: Need Your Advice!

Last night was WONDERFUL. It was 74*F/23*C during my run, can you believe it?

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I have no idea where this cold front came from but I am very happy about it! It definitely added an extra spring in my step!

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I’m sad that pretty soon it’s going to be dark during my runs from start to end. I got caught at the bridge yesterday and soaked in the views. I’ll sure miss it until next summer when I begin complaining about how hot it is to run in the sunlight :). Florida problems!

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I used to live closer to the beach and would run the bridge every single day. When I moved to where I live now I started driving to the beach instead of running there and now I pretty much NEVER run the bridge. But all of that is about to change!

The Miami Marathon covers a few bridges including the McAurthur Causeway which is a beast of a bridge. I had to run it both ways during a 10K I did last year and it nearly killed me.

Because I know what I’ll be facing during the marathon,  I HAVE to incorporate bridge workouts into my training. 

The Runner’s World website recommends starting bridge repeats with 4 to 5 reps up a steep hill, eventually building up to 8 to 12 reps. “For recovery walk back down the hill and wait until 2-3 minutes have passed” before starting your next rep. I’m going to use the Las Olas bridge as my “steep” hill for training purposes.

I’m also going to include running the Las Olas bridge and the 17th Street Causeway into my long runs. The 17th Street Causeway is another bridge that connects downtown Fort Lauderdale with the beach and it’s a big bridge. The Las Olas bridge is quite small. Since the Miami Marathon includes both big and small bridges my training will include both kinds too! I want to be as prepared as possible!

If you have any special bridge training tips I’d love to hear your advice in the comments!

Happy Wednesday!

Do you enjoy bridge/hill repeats?
How many reps do you do?
Do you run your hill repeats based on pace or effort?
If you run them by pace, how do you decide on the pace?

21 comments

  1. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I usually try to incorporate hill repeats into my training. I do them based on effort because it seems to hard to worry about pace for a short amount of time like that. I usually start with 4 repeats of like 30-45 seconds and build each week from there.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Hypermobility and Increased Injury Risk for RunnersMy Profile

    1. Kristina

      That makes sense! So the repeats of 30 to 45 seconds does that mean if you don’t make it to the top in 30 to 45 seconds you walk the rest of the way to the top?

  2. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    I know you asked how I incorporate the bridge into my runs, so here is what I do.

    Sometimes, I do a moderate-length run that includes the bridge 2x (up and over, turn around, and come back).

    Sometimes, we do repeats. We jog to the bridge, then run up and over and pause at the bottom before returning, and we do that about 4x. Because my bridge has different slopes on each side, I don’t like to just run up to the top and then turn around; I run the entire length. So that means I have to do even repeats so I finish on the same side I started on so I can jog back to my car at the end!
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    1. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

      Also, I don’t always LIKE running the bridge but it always makes me feel like I’ve done a good workout. If I’m incorporating it into a moderate run, it adds just a little resistance work and it really does make me faster!
      Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…Surprise Races!My Profile

      1. Kristina

        Thank Ali! I do remember when I used to run the bridge every day it helped a lot. The first couple of years I did the Fort Lauderdale half the bridge was no problem for me because I was so used to running it. Then last year I was like, “this is freakin hard!” I’m looking forward to regaining that fitness. 4X bridge repeats sounds reasonable. I’m going to give them a try tomorrow!

  3. Karen

    I don’t have any bridges here! I do hill repeats when it cool out and I go with the flow sometimes – I will barrel up and sometimes I go easy. No matter what you do it”ll make you stronger and prepared 🙂
    I love how 74 is a cold front lol which is till death weather for me 🙂
    I would practice running across it several times if you are going to do it during the race more than once.

    1. Kristina

      Thanks Karen! I remember when I used to run the bridge every day I would mix it up too depending on how I felt that day.

      I’m going to incorporate a couple of different bridges into my long runs since I’ll be running I think it’s FIVE bridges during the marathon! Most of them are small, although any bridge after a certain amount of miles will feel BIG I’m sure!

  4. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    I never heard of bridge repeats until I started to have friends from FL. 🙂 I follow a blogger in SC and she and her running group do parking garage runs. That’s the only way they can find hills, by running to different parking garages and running up and down them! Obviously in PA it’s not hard to find hills, and on the rare occasion I do hill repeats, I tell myself I *have* to do like 4, but then I end up doing six or 8. Mind games.
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Wow, what a debate!My Profile

    1. Kristina

      Hahaha 😀 I have a friend in Jacksonville that has to do parking garage runs too! I bet that’s extra hard because you can’t really get a good breeze and there’s nothing to look at. You’re just running inside a stuffy parking garage! Parking garage runners get extra points!
      Kristina recently posted…Hill / Bridge Repeats: Need Your Advice!My Profile

  5. Staci

    I wish I had some bridges of any good size near me. I have one overpass, and it isn’t too impressive. I love that your training is starting back up. I am excited to see how it goes for you now that you are using another plan and to see how your body responds after all those 6 day weeks!!
    Staci recently posted…When I don’t run for a WEEK!!!My Profile

    1. Kristina

      ME TOO! I’ve always been a six day a week runner, but with this new plan I’m only going to be running five days. I’m really interested to see how I feel. Since I have an extra rest day from running it gives me another opportunity to lift which I think will help with fatigue in the latter miles of the race. Or I hope so anyway!

  6. Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor

    I don’t know if you remember but I did a TON of this for my Pittsburgh Marathon training which was hill (and bridge!) city. Literally.

    I still believe that the best way to prepare for a hilly (bridgey?) marathon is to incorporate them into your long runs. Repeats are great for building strength – I did them a lot in my training and it really helped me get faster and more fit – but you also want your training to be as race-specific as possible so I would strongly suggest incorporating bridges into your long runs. Again, hill repeats are great, but your marathon isn’t going to be a bunch of hill repeats.

    Another thing that really helped me was the treadmill. Since we don’t have great hills around here, I would go to the gym and do one of the treadmill’s hilly workouts. My god, it was brutal. I did it at my EASY pace and I honestly didn’t know if I could finish sometimes! Since you run on a treadmill a lot this would be a great option that could better mimic the course.

    Also – do them by effort. Focus on your form, cadence and breathing. Worrying about pace in hill reps is a waste of time IMO.

    Anyway, good luck! Hills/bridges are brutal but they are such an effective workout and will boost your overall fitness so much! You’ll love seeing the results, trust me!
    Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor recently posted…10K Training: Qualitative Goals, and what it all meansMy Profile

    1. Kristina

      I am 100% on the same page as you! I’ll definitely be incorporating a couple of bridges into all of my long runs to prepare. Thanks for the good idea to use the treadmill for hill repeats! I didn’t even think of that. That’s a good way to get in hills during the exact miles I’ll have to cover them during the race!

  7. Denise

    I am so bad at hills which I’m sure means that I need to be incorporating them more into my daily runs. There is a big grassy hill near us that I keep meaning to do hill repeats on, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe after my marathon. 🙂
    Denise recently posted…Marathon Monday: Week 16My Profile

    1. Kristina

      Aww your big grassy hill sounds so much more beautiful than my basic bridges! haha
      Kristina recently posted…Hill / Bridge Repeats: Need Your Advice!My Profile

  8. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures

    Yeah on the cooler weather! The weatherman reported it was 49 degrees this morning when I woke up. Yes – it starts with a FOUR. Whoa! But it’s dark, and a rest day for me, so I didn’t run outside anyways. Hope those cool temps stay around a while for you!
    Lisa @ TechChick Adventures recently posted…Catching up, and rolling with it!My Profile

    1. Kristina

      WHAT! It’s in the 40s already?! That sounds absolutely freezing to me! It’s only September!!!

      Unfortunately for me we were back to super hot temps again today. It was 87 degrees when I left my office at 6pm :/.

  9. Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola

    The sounds of your bridge run make me not want to do a bridge run. Good luck to you! I think a Garmin Felix will help your running skills 😉 I am really happy for you that your temperatures are starting to cool down. I did a few longer outdoor workouts when I was training for my tri and it was brutal in the heat. I can’t imagine doing that all the time (although I bet you get used to it to some degree!).
    Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola recently posted…5 Tips for a Healthy FallMy Profile

    1. Kristina

      Hahahahha you are right!!!! Having some rose gold on my wrist would most likely help A LOT! 😀
      Kristina recently posted…Hill / Bridge Repeats: Need Your Advice!My Profile

  10. Sarah mc

    We do hill repeats in our running club. Usually the hill is about 400 meters in length. We start with 3 hills and add 1 hill on each week until we get to about 9. So 6 weeks of hill training.
    Usually we try to get to max heart rate. You want to push your heart rate up but still manage to get up the hill without walking. We do,a short recovery, run down and then back up.
    It is amazing how much hill training does improve your running. It makes you faster, even those you feel sluggish running up them and believe it or not they get easier each week.

  11. Schlub

    Bridge repeats, very nice. You should mix up your workouts. Incorporate bridges into your long runs so your legs feel the climbing when they are tired. Also need true repeats. Climb up, cruise down, pause then repeat. I like to vary my true repeats too, sometimes go by effort and other times just try to hammer at each repeat and get a good burn.

    I agree with Hanna about the treadmill, I’ve done this before and it’s a solid workout.
    Schlub recently posted…One Week at a TimeMy Profile

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