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The Hills Are Alive (With the Smell of My Sweat)

Posted Jun 13 2012 8:27am
If you want to race on hills, you have to train on hills.

Or so the saying goes...

To be honest I've never really understood what a "hill repeat" is. Do you run up and down the same hill ten times? That sounds boring. Though I suppose running 800s around a track to build up your speed is just the same.

While speedwork might continue it's little hiatus, hill work is in style and making it's fabulous first appearance in my training. Mike may love our new neighborhood for the cheaper rents and the easy parking, but it's the hills and the quick trail access that won me over. Between the Baltimore Marathon in October and JFK 50 in November, the move couldn't come at a better time.

The fact is, you can't spit 25 feet in our new neighborhood without hitting a hill. Coming from Center City, where everything was flatlined except the bridges, even the dogs are huffing and puffing a little bit at the end of their walks. And while I admit my body had a bit of a jerk reaction at first, I've actually found that I love (no, seriously, love) running those damn hills. Reaching the summit of each is like a mini-victory just waiting for a fist pump.

I've been incorporating a few hills here and there at the beginning and end of my runs for the last few weeks before venturing out on the nearby river path (nothing wakes you up at 5 am like a half mile climb). Two weeks ago, however, I decided to go full out and designed some little "hill repeats" of my own. Except instead of going up and down the same hill, I zig zagged all over the neighborhood. Up one street, run west one block, down the next street, run west one block, repeat.

All in all my 5+ mile hill workout kicked my ass, tuned me in to some killer climbs to be included in future workouts, and gave me a nice little tour of the neighborhood while I was at it.

After that I took a little break from the hills since my shin was bothering me, but this morning I was ready to tackle them again. This time I think I designed a near perfect hill workout, with even ups and downs, almost 250 ft of extra gain from the previous attempt, and an extra mile for good measure.

It was pure sweaty deliciousness. And guess what? Those hills got easier each time and recovery times were shorter and shorter. Acclimation nation baby! I can only imagine what I'll be able to handle by the fall.

Do you do hill work? Hill repeats? Love/hate hills?

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