Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Fartlek Session
Run Sessions Triathlon Training

Friday Fartlek Run – Barker’s Hill, Hill Reps

This is a hard VO2 Max workout that develops your ability to sustain your top end intensity and enhance your ability to develop power (especially on hills). Hill Reps are an important training session for all runners, as well as triathletes.

Each week I will be posting the Friday Fartlek Run Sessions that you can do to enhance your running. Fartlek is a Swedish term that is often used by runners and it means speed-play. See a previous post about training intensity (levels) to know how hard to work.

This session used to be a staple of my training programme back in the early-mid ’90’s. It’s been a long time since I’ve done this session. I’m keen to dig out my old training diaries now and see what times I got running up (and down) Barker’s Hill in Gisborne.

Barker’s Hill, Hill Reps

  • 10min Level II WU;
  • 6x southern side of Barker’s Hill Level V Up Hill, Level II Jog Down;
  • 10min Level II CD;
  • 10min Stretching

The warm up (WU) should be done at an intensity that is steady but not over consuming at Level II for ten minutes.

The main set is made up by running up the southern side of Barker’s Hill as hard as you can. I start the rep from the dip as the footpath commences from outside 2 Stanford Cres all the way up the hill until the end of the barrier at the summit.

If you aren’t living in Gisborne, find a hill that takes approximately two minutes to run up.

Once you complete each rep, turn around and gently jog back down to the start location. On this hill it was taking me approximately two and a half minutes. The Chorus technicians working at the bottom of the hill certainly thought I was nuts!!!

The Cool Down (CD) is at a low intensity jogging (Level II) for a minimum of ten minutes.

Finish with 10 minutes stretching to assist with the recovery.

If you find yourself in Gisborne and want to replicate this session I’d recommend parking at the Balance Street shops and run along to Fox St and up to Russell St for your warm up, turning right off Russell St to get you to the base of Barker’s Hill. Do the reverse for your cool down, finish with a coffee or juice at Ballance Street Bistro and Bar. As I have family that lives at the base of the hill I had to go away from the hill for my warm up and then prior to doing my cool down I did another hill up to the look out on Wi Pere Street.

Even if you are nowhere near Gisborne you can still replicate this session by using a hill that takes about two minutes to run up it.  Run up it hard each time, with a gentle jog down for your recovery.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact me.

I am the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

I specialise in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. I can be contacted at and 021 348 729.

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If you enjoyed this workout, here is a similar session I published 12 months ago.

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Ray has competed in triathlons from sprint to ironman distance (both IM Taupo and Challenge Wanaka). Consequently he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complimenting other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments etc…). • Entering your first triathlon? • Stepping up to a longer distance? • Looking to go faster? • Wanting to turn previous negatives into positives? Ray has coached athletes to achieve these and more. Training programmes are accessible online, so athletes can be located anywhere and still reap the benefits of Ray’s coaching. Contact him to discuss how he can assist you to achieve your goals.
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