Growing up in the mid-west, I was very familiar with hills. As a young runner, I have very vivid memories of my cross country coach having our team do hill repeats every few weeks. These were our least favorite workout. We would tackle Rabbit Lane and run up and down the hill at intervals varying by the telephone poles. It was a fun (as fun as a junior/senior high student can make anything) workout.
As an adult runner, I do not fancy running hills. They are hard. They hurt. They slow me down. Did I mention they hurt? Yet, I am thankful for the years of coaching and teaching on how to properly attack and run a hill. I also know the value and importance of hill training for a runner.
Preparing for Ragnar So. Cal, I am doing my best to incorporate hill training into my normal flat running. I have been using the step master, running the preset hill interval preset on the treadmill… yet nothing can prepare you to run hills… like running hills can!
Last weekend, I braved the only hill in my town. It is a man made hill. It is a road that drives over the railroad tracks. Yet it is a good sized hill. I could drive 45 minutes and run on some amazing rolling hills in the Sierra Mountains… but I decided to run close to home.
What goes up…
Must Go Down…
I created and ran my own interval hill/pole workout. I ran pole intervals.
Run up to the first pole… turn around and run back down… recover.
Run up to the second pole… turn around and run back down… recover.
Run up to the third pole… turn around and run back down… recover.
Run up to the fourth pole… turn around and run back down… recover.
Run up (and down to the other side of the hill) to the fifth pole… turn around and run back UP and DOWN… recover.
Run up/down to the sixth pole… turn around and run back UP and DOWN… recover.
Run up/down to the seventh pole… turn around and run back UP and DOWN… recover.
Run up/down to the eighth pole… turn around and run back UP and DOWN… recover.
Run all the way up and down (bottom to bottom) and then recovery run to starting spot.
My warm up/cool down run was .25 miles to and from the hill. Who knew that running hill repeats on that one hill would cover almost 4 miles of running! I can say that it was a great workout to instill the confidence I will need to tackle the hills while running Ragnar So. Cal.
Here are some great tips that I use that help me train to run hills:
Practice running hills… to be good at running hills you must run hills!
Maintain good running form.
Use your arms – pump them to help push your body/legs up and forward.
Use your legs *duh* Lift them higher and dig deep
Lean into the hill slightly.
Challenging yourself. Take it bit by bit. Focus on what is in front of you (not the top and not your feet).
There are many benefits to running hills. If you are not a fan of speed work… run a hill. Studies have proven that when you run hills it can improve your speed! Who knew… running hills can make you faster!
”Hills are speed work in disguise’” ~ Frank Shorter
I am having fun spicing up my training plan by incorporating hill training. I know that when I face a huge incline (hill) in my race next weekend at Ragnar, I will have the mental mindset chanting: What goes up … must come down! I do love running DOWN hills! I fly.