Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Climbing hills

If there's one thing I've learned from the Mohican race Saturday, it's that if I want to keep doing this insane trail running stuff I've got to run more hills. 

I've been pretty good about running them once a week on the treadmill, but when it comes to picking a route for my longer runs I'm all about the flatness.

This is what I did today, stepping it up a bit. The last four weeks I was doing the same, one grade down on all.
1 mile @ 6 speed and 5 incline
2 x 1/2 mile @ 5.5 speed and 7 incline
4 x 1/4 mile @ 5 speed and 9 incline
Walking .1 to .25 miles in between. 

Usually I finish in just under an hour, and it burns a ton of calories. The intervals also help break up the prolonged agony I've come to equate with running on the treadmill.

I've been doing some reading though, and Runner's World suggests more of a rolling hill approach, so maybe I'll try that out next week. This article also has some interesting tips on form.

I really need to make it a point to find more routes around here with a hill or two, most importantly so I can practice running down as well. Horns Hill is two miles from my apartment, though I don't know if I'm that crazy. Also I've gotten a few tips from people in Granville. I hear the Denison campus is a doozy, and probably safer to run at night too, which will become a factor very soon.

I'm officially registered for my next two races. The less insane one is the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Cleveland. I'm going to do it with my younger sister. Given the fact that she just had a baby and hasn't had much time to run, I might be able to keep up with her. Maybe.

Then there is the 10-mile trail challenge at Salt Fork Dec. 4. That's the one I've based my training program around. If you think I'm crazy for doing that, check out what some people will put themselves through the following day

Yesterday I finally got the concept of a recovery run. My general idea of recovery is to lie on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and crime dramas (what I did on Sunday). My legs were still hurting Monday afternoon but I went out anyway against my better judgement. The first mile was torture, pure and simple. I almost turned back, but stopped to stretch instead. Each of the final five miles was easier than the previous, and I ended up feeling much better than when I started. Maybe I can turn Sunday into that fifth running day after all, then of course that brings it up to 4 consecutive again, arg!


  1. Hey Jessica, you should try the Marie Hickey trail at Black Hand Gorge. It's just shy of 2 miles in a loop, with a wicked hill on it. You can do repeats on the hill or do 3 or 4 loops instead, and trust me, it'll get you ready to run hills!

  2. That's awesome! Hill training is great. Just working hills into your runs will be great for you. If I have a hilly race planned, I like doing my tempo and marathon pace work on a course with some hills on it. Alternately, Brad Hudson recommends doing striders up a short, steep hill (fast runs where you focus on form for maybe 15 seconds), and Arthur Lydiard recommended a hill training phase where a few times a week, runners would work on "bounding" up hills (driving the knee upward to focus on strength). Or you could just do plain hill repeats, where you find a 100-400m hill, run up it as fast as you can, recovery jog back down, and then do it again. :) Have fun and good luck!

  3. @Jamison: Thanks! I almost went to blackhand yesterday but time got away from me, so I just went to the bike path.

    @Becki: Thanks for the tip. I think I started running long hills on the treadmill because one of my routes (Dawes) has a few short and steep hills, but I hardly get there anymore because they close at dusk.