Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hill (and street) Blues

I am definitely singing the running hills (and streets) blues today.  Yesterday was my first attempt, in many years, at running hills.  And today I am paying the price.  My quads are absolute trash and my calves aren't in much better shape.  What is it they say?  No pain no gain?  Well, based on my pain level today, I should be running record breaking paces in no time.

They, you know real runners, say that one of the best ways to increase your speed is to run hills.  I really hope they are right.  Now that I'm in full marathon training mode, I'm starting to set my sights on an actual time goal.  It takes me a while to figure out what my goal is because I need to really evaluate where I am and how I think my running can progress.  It would be crazy to me before even starting to train to set some arbitrary standard that I could either fail miserably at or easily surpass.  Even though I'm not really ready to share my goal, I do know that the goal is pretty hefty and it's going to take a lot of work from me.  So, a lot of work I'm giong to do.  Starting with hills.  Well, really just starting with this one teeny, tiny, baby hill.
Seriously, can you even tell this is a hill???
I interspersed hill drills (forward and backward "running") between my scheduled mileage.  Believe it or not, there is actually a trail in Houston that provides lots of hill opportunities.  I have my eye on a particularly steep and intimidating hill, but I'm going to need some more practice and a running mix of nothing but the Rocky soundtrack before I tackle that one.  So, to start, I am sticking with this teeny, tiny, baby BITCH of a hill.

Hill running is not easy (in case you hadn't gathered that from all of my above complaining) and it takes a lot of work, but it will (better) pay off.  Some of the benefits to running hills include increased calorie burn (not really that important in marathon training, but I'm a girl, so I can't help but like this one), increased endurance, increased speed, and increased leg strength. These things will come in handy for reaching my goal. Also, you can't help but feel like Rocky Balboa running up the Philadelphia museum steps when you get to the top, which is about the only thing that keeps me going.  Not while you're running, though. While you're running you feel more like one of those cartoons who keeps spinning it's legs but isn't going anywhere. Does that cartoon actually exist?  I feel like I can picture it but I can't name it. It could just be an image from some reoccurring dream of mine. Probably the one where I am a cartoon trying to run hills. 

I came across this today. I think I'm going to start reading every time I'm just about to start hill running. I will be a hill seeker!!

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