Hills, Hills, Hills

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This is stuck in your head now, am I right?

This is the elevation profile for the half marathon I impulsively signed up for a few weeks ago:

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 5.36.02 PM

It’s a little hilly.

Hill running is probably the number one thing I forget about when I’m training for races.  This is due to a number of factors:

  • I started training for my first half marathon when I lived in Philadelphia.  The big races like the Distance Run (RIP) and Philadelphia Half Marathon are pretty flat, so I didn’t really have a need to ever run hills.
  • My usual running routes in Austin are fairly flat.
  • I generally avoid races with lots of hills because I don’t think I’m a good hill runner.  Since I avoid hilly races, I never train on hills and don’t get better.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I have never done well with traditional hill repeats like these.  My knees always feel dreadful afterwards and I end up having to take time off.  This issue even dates back to high school when I was a wee young thing with 20+ less pounds on my body.  I’ve never really figured out if this is an issue with my form or a problem with my actual knees.  And honestly, I’m not very motivated to seek professional advice when I know I can avoid the issue by not running hill repeats.

My knees feel fine if I work hills into my regular runs.  I’ve started working a nearby 4.3 mile loop into my training in anticipation of the Decker hills.  None of them are quite as bad as the mile 8 or mile 10 climbs on the Decker course but it’s definitely a good workout if I try to run hard on the inclines:

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 5.55.00 PM

Working hills into my long runs is a little trickier.  My preferred place for long runs is Lady Bird Lake because I don’t have to stop for traffic or carry water.  But that trail’s mostly flat, which makes me a bit nervous if I’m training for a hilly half.  Sadly, it may be time for me to suck it up and do my upcoming 13 and 14 mile runs on the road.

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6 Responses to Hills, Hills, Hills

  1. janerunswild says:

    Good luck!! Hill training is tough but it will pay off during the race. Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

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  2. pscapp says:

    I love hills. They don’t always love me back but in a marathon they end up being the gift that keeps on giving.

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  3. Brittany says:

    I love hills! It’s an “easy” way to train that will directly result in faster times, especially on flat land. I’m guessing your knee issues are related to how you carry yourself downhill. A quick Google search can point you in the direction of great videos and tips for up and downhill running… Because hills can definitely break you.

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