Thursday, March 24, 2011

Up and down and back and forth.

I missed my tempo run yesterday.  This whole boycotting getting up early to run didn't suit me very well and I ended up not running at all.  So, today, bright (well actually dark) and early I headed out to make up for lost mileage.  I wasn't really feeling the tempo run though and decided to change it up a bit with a hill workout.

I've ever never really done a "hill workout" before but rumor has it hill workouts can be just as beneficial as tempo or track workouts.  I believe the general way to do it, is find a nice sized hill that is somewhere between 1/2 a mile and 1 mile (probably shorter, I'm really not sure) long and run up and down it until you have reached your desired distance... or you keel over.  This to me sounds kind of tedious and not much better than the tempo workout I had planned, so, instead I decided to run up and down all (well a bunch of) the hills in my neighborhood.  Basically, I zig zagged back and forth through my neighborhood going up and down the streets.  I hit every street on the way out and every odd street on the way back.  I worked it so that I would run up one of the hills that will be part of the Eugene Marathon "the right" direction twice.  Here's what the elevation profile looks like on "paper":

elevation profile compliments of

Actually the peaks look a lot more intense than they really were, if you look at the numbers the biggest gain wasn't even 100 feet.... but they were still hills and I ran them.  And... it was a lot of fun!  It might have had something to do with the fact that I was running without the stroller... that would have definitely made it unbearable... I've done hills while pushing the stroller, definitely not an easy task. I think mostly though, I enjoyed it because it was something different. I managed to cover a little over 7 miles while staying within a 6 block radius of my house and I wasn't running in circles.   My only real complaint was that the sidewalks were pretty uneven and I almost fell a couple of times running down the hills.  I was wearing my headlamp but had to be pretty cautious.  I think had I done it during the daylight I would have been able to make better time.  On the other hand, by running in the early morning there wasn't any traffic so I didn't have to stop at any of the cross streets... this might have been a different story if I had run later in the day (or not during spring break).

Do you do hill repeats?  Maybe you could give me some advice on the proper way to do it, ie... How steep should the hill be? Is it best to do the same hill over and over?


giraffy said...

I've never done hills, but man, I've been wanting to! I haven't found the right hills around me to practice on yet, though.

Nice run!

FruitFly said...

I don't ever have set plans for my runs - but this is always probably why I am not a fabulous runner yet. I think I'm still just trying to get used to putting in the miles and not dying after 5 or so. Anyway, sometimes when I feel "on" I will alter my route to add in some hills. When I do I refuse to let myself walk on them at all. They aren't as big as other hills I've raced on, but I feel like it actually has helped me a tad. But yeah - no strategy for me. I just kind of decide on the fly what I do!

tri like mary said...

I also find it hard to get the runs in if I don't do them in the morning.

Your hill workout sounds really good. I don't have any advice for you unfortunately since where I live we are SO flat. The only hill we have is at the former landfill turned park. Seriously.

Alanna said...

I do hills and am so thankful that I just did my last session yesterday! *happy dance!* I think you want an incline of 8-10%, but obviously you make do with what you have! I hate doing repeats. It's not bad if you're only doing a few repeats, but definitely gets soul-sucking once you're up to 9 or 10... Our clinic leader had us doing run 1min/walk 2min intervals for the total distance that the week called for and it was a lot better. However, you need a really long hill (the one last night was 5km). I think the best advice was that it wasn't the number of repeats, but how hard you ran them. Even if you're supposed to do, say, 6, but can only put in 4 really hard that's good enough.

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Way to show 19th whose boss this time, since you struggled so on Saturday:)

XLMIC said...

I used to love hill repeats! I used to do a 2 mile warm up followed by 4-6 half-mile hills... I don't know the incline, but it was steep but not 'sheer'. A steady incline, no dips or levels. I look forward to running hills again someday soon :)

Nicole Orriëns said...

Unfortunately there aren't many hills in my neck of the woods. But there is one!

And on some Sundays I tackle that hill, and run down it. That's about it. I've never done any repeats, though maybe I should try it sometimes.

It's just that life in general sometimes feels so uphill, why seek it out if you can avoid it...

I have way too many blogs, so I'll just add the right url, because I hope you'll come for a visit.

Small Town Runner said...

I think..if you found a way that worked for you...and you can still walk today...keep doing it =D
I have read that you should do shorter hills 1/4 mile or 100 yards, maybe 3-6% grade, and start with 4 repeats. Increase the repeats the next the uphills hard, slow jog the downhills. That said....I get hurt on hills. haha. This is for building speed.
Also, if you know your course and it has long hills- like Boston- you might want to take a different approach..The downhill marathon is hard on your legs, so you need to to some downhill running. But not too much (like I did) might get hurt (like I did).
OK...long comment....just do what your'e doing if it works for you =D