Thanks for the vote of confidence Kate...I may be a veteran but I wouldn't call myself a HTC expert (YET)!!!
This is the reply I sent to one of our team member when she asked about hill training...
After running Athens 3+ weeks ago, I have a new respect for hills and hill training!
What I have learned about running hills from Athens and HTC is we need to find what works for us as individuals. For me, I am better walking up hills and running down, while other are more comfortable running up and walking down and some have the strength and endurance to run up and down consistently...it really depends on the condition of your knees, back and abs! As far as exercises to build hill running muscles, I tend to do lots of squats and core work! Stronger core equals less wear and tear on your legs! I also do tons of outdoor cycling to strengthen my legs without subjecting them the the constant pounding of running!!! When I get tired, I tend to collapse on myself which does not happen if you have a strong core!!! So along with squats, I would suggest plenty of ab and back work and non-running cardio!!! I would also suggest adding hill work to your training plan at least once a week just so you get a good feel for them. Running trails, if possible, is also helpful as it will help with maintaining your footing and balance!
As far as speed vs distance (endurance), I know I am build more for distance than speed but I also know that with consistant training and the right amount of rest and recovery, my speed does improve!
One of the keys to successful training is getting plenty for rest and recovery time!!! This will minimize the chances of overuse injuries!!! I made the mistake of overtraining prior to Athens and ended up with an overuse injury at mile 21 and missed my time goal by 20 minutes!!! It is 3+ weeks post marathon and I am finally completely healed and ready to hit the road again!!!