Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hills are speedwork in disguise

Or so they say.  I tend to agree.

I’m running the 10.6 mile event at Big Sur at the end of the month and it’s hilly.  I’m also running SF Marathon at the end of July and it’s hilly too.  Unfortunately I don’t live in a hilly area.  So how do I do hill repeats, you might be asking yourself.  On an overpass.  Yep.  An overpass.

My running buddy, Kat, lives close by the “hill” we choose to use for our hill repeats so the husband and I drove over to her house last night after work and ran the 1.5+ miles to the hill for a warm-up.  We then proceeded to do a few repeats (4 for me and Kat; 6 for the husband) up and over the overpass before running the 1.5+ miles back for a cool down.  Our overpass of choice is a half a mile from one side to the other and goes over the railroad track at a busy intersection.  Thankfully it’s a wide street with a big sidewalk. 

When we headed out for our warm-up it was drizzling rain but thankfully it stopped and we stayed dry for our workout.  The warm-up was easy and the chatter was constant (1.56 miles @ 10:53 avg).  Once we made it to the “hill” we did some dynamic stretching and plyos and then charged up the hill and down the back side.  The husband took a break in-between each up and over … I only took a break in-between each “set” (up and over twice back to starting point). 

Each up & over was half a mile:

  • 4:51 (9:38 pace) – felt good, pumped my arms and cruised down the back side
  • 4:53 (9:46 pace) – slowed down even more on the downhill as its more steep on this side
  • 4:41 (9:22 pace) – back up the steeper side, pumping my arms, fastest pace of the night
  • 4:49 (9:40 pace)  - starting to feel fatigued and my right hamstring was getting tight

The husband proceeded to do another repeat and we waited for him while discussing our upcoming training schedule.  (Kat is running the 10.6 in Big Sur, the SF Marathon, and an assortment of other races this year with me.)  Once the husband was done we did a cool down back to Kat’s house.  Except anytime I do speed work, which hill repeats are in disguise, it feels easier to keep a faster pace afterwards.  Which means our cool down was faster than our warm-up (1.56 miles @ 9:58 avg).  Anyone else feel this way after a speed work session?

Overall this was a great workout.  I felt good powering up the hills and I’m looking forward to moving my long runs from the flat land (where I live) to the rolling hills on the American River Bike Path starting this weekend.  We’re planning on running a lap (11+ miles) around Lake Natoma on Saturday … I haven’t ran that route since my stress fracture race last October. 

How do you train for hills?  Since I’m not planning on doing formal speed work for the next several months I’m looking forward to weekly hill repeats and to moving my long runs to routes with rolling hills.


giraffy said...

Man. Hill repeats are TOUGH. Nicely done!! I'm lucky to live near some hills, so I just.... run them. When I feel like it. I know, super fancy.

Are you doing SF Full?? I feel like I've asked this already, but I forget everything.

christa said...

Most of my routes are hilly, but sometimes I tend to avoid hills. I was just thinking yesterday I need some hill repeats,

That Pink Girl said...

You're right, hils ARE speedwork! Nice job finding an overpass that will do the trick. Like you, I live in a very flat area. But we've found a coupe of neighborhoods with some nice "hills" and seek those out for hill work. Parking garages are also good!