Adding in those “Lovely” Hill Repeats 4-5-12

Blake Hill - My hill

I am entering into the next phase of my training cycle, adding in faster (for me) hill repeats 1-2 times a week.

This was how I was taught to put together a training cycle:

  • do the base mileage (3-4 months)
  • add in hills (4-6 weeks)
  • speed work on the track (4-8 weeks)
  • cut back i.e. rest a little in August during the hottest part of summer.
  • Race in the fall
  • cut back November/December to recover from all the little things

Since the start of the year I have worked mostly on my base mileage and loosing some a lot of the lardage and feel very good about the progress I have made. I can run 13.1 miles in under 2 hours, so I think I have my endurance about where I would like it to be. To be honest this is probably the best mileage base I have had in 10-15 years at the least.

Now it is time to add in a weekly hill repeat session, sure I did a few hill repeats here and there, while I was building my base mileage, but now I am going to make it a weekly occurrence for the next 4-6 weeks.

This training should get me through the summer to be in great shape for fall running – well at least that is the plan. I am going to run in races before then, but I plan to be careful about racing them this year, there is a big difference.  I really want to get a full year of running back under my belt before I start thinking about racing. This year is to return to running and getting in running shape.

I am using Blake Road Hill as my primary hill to do repeats on, it is not a long uphill, to me it is just steep enough to get your heart rate up quickly, but not so long that I am going to injure myself by doing too much. Also it is on a dirt road, so the pounding is not nearly as bad.

The hill repeats started today, now that it has dried up enough to not come back looking like a mud pie.

I did a 2.5 mile slow warm-up and then did 8 repeats, they are only about 120 yards (2 telephone poles plus), but it sure as hell got my attention and then a 1.5 cool-down which equals close enough to 4 miles.

Since I have changed my form, I haven’t really worked on using my new form to run faster, just comfortably. Boy do I have another learning curve to go through!

I found myself reverting back to my old running style when I first tried to go faster up that damn hill. The first couple of repeats and it just didn’t feel right (running fast uphill – my body didn’t like either idea, especially at the same time). I really had to focus on how I wanted to run up the hill, while going faster, not just going up a hill to get up it (you know that survival shuffle we develop to get to the top of a tough hill, instead of striding up it).

Times are in seconds

  • #1 – 45:51
  • #2 – 42:79

Finally,  my body got the idea of what it was supposed to do and it didn’t feel like I was running with 2 left feet. It started to move more fluidly. Plus I took off my jacket with all the junk in the pockets and just ran in my t-shirt (a little chilly, but as long as I kept moving not too bad.

  • #3 – 38:95
  • #4 – 39:50

The third and fourth repeats felt pretty good and I didn’t feel as though I was going to fall on my face from being tired yet.

  • #5 – 37:83
  • #6 – 38:40

Repeats 5 and 6  WERE TOUGH and as soon as I hit the 50 yards left mark, it felt like I was going against a 100 mph wind, instead of a 10 mph one. 😉

  • #7 – 37:47

Repeat 7 the legs were beginning to turn into jello, but I worked hard on staying upright and not flapping my arms like a goose or more importantly tossing lunch.

  • #8 – 37:11

That last repeat was miserable, but it was the last one, so I sucked it up and pushed hard up that damn hill. When I finished, the legs were jello, the chest was heaving and I was huffing and puffing trying to get some air back in. I had to stop and focus on not sitting down in the middle of the road or was that not falling down.  This was my fastest repeat and while none of the times were world-class, they were all down at 80-85% of my effort, except for the last one which hit the 90% effort.

I wasn’t happy with the times, but I was very happy with the effort. As long as I keep giving the effort, as much speed as I have in my 55 year body will come back to me. I just have to keep remembering that I will not run as fast as I did in my “glory years”.

No I definitely learned that am not in shape to run up hills or anyplace very fast. After this workout I know that I really needed to start doing this. I may not like how I feel while doing them, I do know they are making me work harder than I have been and that it is necessary if I want to keep improving as a runner.

Like they say if you want to run faster you have to practice running faster. It is a different style of running and yes I have to practice it, if I want to run faster – which I do.

RunLog 4-5-12

I also went over 400 miles for the year running already and will go over 300 miles of walking this weekend, so this I am very happy with my base mileage so far this year.



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