Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Perfect Hill Is A Challenge

You know that I am on a plan... A training plan that is. I enjoy the fact that I don't have to come up with stuff to torture me, somebody else is doing that job for me (currently on a generic half marathon plan from BT) and I am just left with the execution. It makes me do things, that I normally wouldn't... If I would design my own training plan it would look something like this: Monday 5ish Miles, Wednesday 7ish Miles, Saturday 10ish Miles... No information on how fast, what HR zone, running hills or on flats, intervals. I am not very creative in coming up with things to torture myself...

My current pet peeve on the training plan are the hill repeats.

So far I had two of those on the plan and the basically look the same:
  • 15 minute easy warm-up
  • Number x2 minutes hill repeats working into heart rate zone 4 and rest on the downhill
  • 15 minute easy cool-down
On Sunday I had 10 x2' and yesterday 12 x2' and even though I haven't looked into the future weeks, I assume that's is going to go up from there with even more repeats. It's labeled as "strength building" workouts and I believe that this is exactly what that kind of run is doing: making you stronger and that's certainly not a bad thing.

Those hill repeats are rough, but I found that my biggest challenge is to fine the perfect hill... And to be perfect, it needs to fulfill the following requirements:
  • at least 0.25 miles long, to make sure that I most certainly won't be able to reach the top during the 2 minute time span
  • a gradual hill that has about the same incline all the way up
  • not a lot of traffic (since I will be spending a lot of time on the same piece of road)
  • no stray or playful dogs
  • preferably shaded (see above: spending a lot of time there)
On Sunday's run I had an idea of the hill on which I would do the repeats, but I got lazy and didn't measure the distance beforehand. This way I ended up with two hills that were too short until finally finding one that worked. Even though the grade of that hill wasn't too practical, because it flattened out quite some at the end.

Yesterday I came prepared! I picked and measured the hill the night before. My warm-up would be running to that hill from the house the long way. I ended up having more of 30 warm-up, because it was the "long" way (maybe 2.5 miles) and I was super slow. The temperatures and the humidity really took a toll on me and I was supposed to take it easy.

I did my first hill repeat and I knew right away that this one is going to be perfect until I noticed the lady reading in her yard with her goofy golden retriever. The first time, the dog didn't do anything, but on my second repeat he sprinted out the yard, wanting to play with me and I knew that the remaining 10 repeats are not going to happen here... For the lady's and my sanity's sake. I finished my second repeat up and then kept running up the hill (instead of going back down) in order to find another hill. The next one I picked out didn't work at all. Way too short and it actually led into a private community, that -I guess- I shouldn't even run into. After the 3rd repeat was a fail, I kept on running. Soon I ran down a hill and thought that this could possibly work. When I hit the bottom of the hill, I turned around and started repeat #4. This was a very good alternative to my original pick and I kept on doing my repeats #4 through #8 and then my stomach revolted. Fortunately, I was only half a mile from the house, so I did a little pit stop there. For a while, I just thought to call it a day, but then my stubbornness won and I headed back out, but I stayed close to the house doing the remaining four repeats on a hill just up the road... It was alright to finish there, but traffic on that road is a little more than all the other spots I ran that day and there was another puppy running along with me for a while wanting to play.

My legs felt good and heavy by the time I was finally done. This morning, I also felt really tight and had a couple of sore spots around my knees on my calves. I was supposed to do an easy run this morning, but bagged the thing and jumped on the elliptical instead, to give the legs a little rest. Low and behold, on my last 15 minutes on the elliptical the old buddy plantar f made a short appearance in my left foot... Did I stop my workout early? Of course not... In the end, I guess I do like to torture myself. Hopefully, the massage that I had after work has taken care of this... PLEASE!

So long! ;-)

1 comment:

  1. I will never understand why so many people think it's ok to let their dog run up to strangers. Do they just assume everyone wants to play with their dog? That's ok, don't call for your dog, or my favorite is when they are walking the dog and I run by and they don't try to hold the dog (on one of those expanding leashes). Anyway, minor annoyance.

    Hills can be beastly. I keep saying I'll do a hill workout... but.... yeah.