It’s Just A Hill, Get Over It!

Hill repeats suck, in a good kind of way. The last time I did any sort of decent hill repeat workout was back in 2014, before the Twin Cities Marathon. Sure, I did a few last year, but not enough to say they made any kind of difference in my running. Either that, or I hadn’t noticed.

I could only muster 4 repeats on a particular morning last month, noting that I previously did 7 rounds on the same hill when I did previous sessions in previous years. But that wasn’t weighing on my mind. I knew I could get back to 7 rounds in just a few weeks. What I did notice this summer was that the day following my first set of hill repeats, I experienced a less physically stressful run the following day. It was as though my breathlessness was gone. I had full, unimpeded lungs of air. Sure, my legs were fatigued, but cardio wise, the run was a piece of cake,

July 13 - Hill Repeats

July 13 – Hill Repeats


August 16 - Hill Repeats

August 16 – Hill Repeats

By week 2 of the hill repeat workout, I was back up to the 7 rounds. And after weeks 3 and 4, I decided I needed to find a bigger hill. I actually had one in mind. I just needed to get up early enough to get to it (remember, I mentioned the sleeping in part of my summer and the importance to get to those two yoga classes a week). My hill repeat workout happens on a Tuesday, and the only Yoga class I can make that day is at 9:30 am. See, I’d have to drive to the new hill, so I would need to actually get out of bed at the time my alarm is set for…5:30 am. Right now, I’m lucky to crawl out of bed by 6 am. I’m usually so good about getting up with my alarm. But lately? I’m thinking my body must need the sleep. I wake up exhausted. I’m not completely sure where I’m finding the energy to run everyday.

But it would seem these days, once I get out there, the longer I run, the better I feel. It takes at least 4-5 miles before I find a groove. If I had the time (note the previous blog post mentioning the dwindling hours), I’d run a 20 miler, because that is how darn good I feel at that point in my run.

So, this summer has been a lesson in futility, a lesson in patience, and a lesson in running, of which I haven’t faced before. But, I’m always up for a challenge.

August 4 - Quarter Mile Sprints

August 4 – Quarter Mile Sprints

Beginning in August, I added some speedwork to the mix. I had been listening to the Runner Girls Podcast, and had been inspired by Meagan, who has a running coach to help her through her very first marathon (GO Meagan!). Every week, she is doing different types of speedwork. I’ll admit, most of it doesn’t sound too appealing to me, but some of it does, and I have been attempting to do some of it on my own. Probably my favorite is just doing some quarter mile sprints, where I run fast for a quarter mile, then catch up with a slower half mile jog. I do find, that once my heart rate recovers, I’m running pretty fast at the end of the half mile, so I’ve had to learn to control my speed at the end of the slow interval before having to speed up again for the quarter mile. This has a major effect on the paces I can reach, and in the negative splits that I can hit on the speed repeat run.

I’ve been noticing also, the same effect after a speed work day that I see on a hill repeat day. I’m cardiovascularly rocking the run. Obviously, there is something to these added workouts.

August 23 - Hill Repeats

August 23 – Hill Repeats

I did end up trying that steeper hill. But it was way steeper. Steep enough that I may not go back to it. My instincts tell me that if I have to stop and walk up it at the end, it isn’t fulfilling the purpose of running hill repeats. Perhaps someone can chime in on this. Of course, this hill was a 155 ft climb in elevation over a half mile as compared to a 90 ft climb over a half mile. That is quite the difference. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself.

Thursday’s speedwork was accomplished in my Vibrams. That was a first. I usually reserve my Newton Fates for my longer runs. I tacked on a few extra miles so it made it my longest ever run in the five finger shoes. 10 miles was the limit for them, at least so far as today. I could really feel it on the bottom of my right foot. It was like I had a rock stuck in the sole of my shoe, but I knew that wasn’t possible. Needless to say, when Garmin said 10, I stopped short. Enough for today.

But, the different running workouts are helping, there is no doubt. I’m still amazed that after each one, I can get out of bed the next day…and run.

It seems to be coming together nicely.

Will Kansas City be a rip roaring success? It is too early to tell. My two long runs are fast approaching and I have a feeling they will be the tell all.

Are you in the middle of training for an event? Which one, and when is it?

2 Responses to It’s Just A Hill, Get Over It!

  1. Not a fan of hill work! But you have to do the work for the race you’re going to run, right?

  2. Timi Kopacek says:

    Are you running the I-35 challenge? I thought about doing the half marathon challenge but decided against it with it being so soon after my full.

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