[i]Originally posted by danimal9[/i]
If you do enough hill work in the offseason your speed will not suffer as much because your sprint mechanics will be reinforced going up the hills and your turnover will be developed going down the hills. Tempo’s are great for pre-season 2-4 weeks prior to competition and good to mix in the offseason, but a regular training diet of tempo’s will make you the world’s greatest tempo runner not 800 runner.
Talent is often overstated in running, running at any level is 90% mental and 10% ability. Many elite runners had what looked to be zero ability, they had hearts and guts that could not be measured.
Unless it’s the slightest of grades, downhills and speed training do not mix. If you mean running hills during a run or longer hill intervals, this will not do much for speed. The main improvement you will see is in strength endurance, not speed.
Short (30m) hills are used to teach proper body angles in acceleration development, this is not of much use to a mid-distance runner. Short hills can be beneficial as a means of developing specific power-endurance.
I am not saying that hills are not a valuable training tool, but there are specific uses for them. Simply running up a hill, does nothing more for upright sprint mechanics than running on flat ground.
As far as you quip about becoming the world’s best tempo runner, I take offense to that. You are insulting my intelligence. There are very few sports where practicing the EXACT competition event makes up a high % of training. The only sport I can think of are highly technical like Olympic weightlifting, diving and/or involve choreography like figure skating or gymnastics. Even these sports use non-specific training methods: Weightlifters will do squats, gymansts will perform bodyweight exercises like dips or pullups.
Anyways your whole argument is bunk, extensive tempo is much closer to the pace of 800m than mileage. IT’S MAIN USES ARE TO DEVELOP THE ENERGY SYSTEMS IN A MANNER THAT IS BETTER SUITED FOR SPRINTERS, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY ALLOWING FOR RECOVERY.