Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Turn Up the Training Tuesday

If you read about it, speed will come.  Subconsciously, I think this has been my mantra - and problem - for some time in running.  This is not the Field of Dreams, people.  I have read about a zillion articles (I am a really efficient reader) on how to improve your running - I probably read about 2/3rds zillion of them while training for the marathon before I came to terms with the idea that I wouldn't be able to run a wonderful sub
4 or even sub 4:30 race.  And yet, my running times didn't improve.  Reading about how to become a fast runner will not make you a fast runner.  You have to actually DO THE STUFF THEY SAY IN THE ARTICLE to get faster.  Well, either that, or I need to read more about how this osmosis concept works because if it did work that way I would be uber fast.  Seriously, I have read a lot about the ideal types of speed work outs, VO2 Max, Lactic Acid Thresholds, hill repeats - you name it.

In light of this unfortunate discovery and my desire to speed up, I decided to turn it up on today's run; today seemed like the perfect day to start my new and improved training since I had a running date with my childhood friend, Meridith.  When better to push yourself to try to achieve something difficult than when you have the support and motivation of a friend, right?
You think I'm throwing around the term "date," but seriously - how romantic are these bridges with their cute little lights reflecting on the water?  Also - I hope you enjoy my awesome photography skills with that lamp post in the foreground for, um, effect...
Also, Meridith happens to be one of those "natural runner" types - tall with long legs, effortlessly gliding, high school track pedigree - I'm sure you know the type.  And so we set out on a perfectly temperatured Tuesday night with the goal of going out of our way to find some hills to repetitively climb.  (Rather different from my preferred type of run - the typer where I recalculate the route in my head to avoid as many hills as possible.)

I had picked out a rather steep, ramp type incline up to a charming little gazebo.  Not that I actually saw much of the gazebo during the climb.  I would imagine that "proper form" would have dictated that I was looking ahead to the gazebo, but really I was just trying to focus on getting to the next few feet in front of me.
Maybe I was thinking the fairy tale-esc gazebo at the top would distract from the incline's pain?  It didn't.  Having Meridith along as my partner in crime certainly helped, though.
In my head I had visions of multiple hill repeats one after another, but then in my head I'm a lot fitter than I am in real life, too.  After the first up and down Meridith asked me, "So do you want to go for four?  Or five?"  "I'm thinking like, two?"  I lamely replied.  "Cool, we can start with that for today," Meridith allowed.  We jogged a bit on flat surface to recover before attempt number two, which I admittedly slowed down to more of a jog than I had done for attempt one, but once it was completed I thought, okay, not so bad.   We jogged another loop, walked a tiny bit, and took on the slope once again.
Climb #3?  Not as terrible as I remembered the first two to be.  Perhaps it was the little walk break right before...
The lap between 3 and 4 included more walking, but we dug in for one last, full on push up the hill, and then jogged back to turn in for the night.  (Okay, so I had us stop to walk for a little bit on that part, too - full disclosure).  All in we were running for somewhere between 5 and 5.5 miles (I recorded less in the training log because I goofed up turning the ipod back on after a walk/stretch break and my Garmin was dead from about a half mile on - one day I'll get it right!)

Meridith and I celebrating how semi-bad*ss we are for running those miserable hills.  We'll be fully bad*ss when we run them with no stopping afterwards!
Do I wish I were tough enough to have not needed any walk breaks [Thanks for your patience, Mer!]?  Yea.  But this workout still felt like a step in the right direction.  A long time ago my friend Annie turned me on to the saying if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten, or that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.  I imagine we were talking about boys.  Sad that it took me this long to figure out how perfectly it applied to running!

Tell me - how do you feel about hills?  Love 'em?  Hate 'em?  Have any secrets for tackling them?  Do you regularly make an effort to incorporate them into your workouts?  Feel like they've helped with your speed?


  1. I'm no expert, but I think walk-breaks are a big part of interval/hill training. Aren't you supposed to get your heart rate down in between?

    Also, PS, come to DC. I've got a hill for you. Its called CAPITOL HILL! There's really good security in the area and a gazebo-like-big-dome-shaped-official-building nearby.

    1. I actually think you're right! Yay! I feel more bad@$$ already!!

  2. Um - I despise hills. I recently found Rockafeller Park for my long runs and HOUNTAIN training (they are quite larger than hills). Therefore, I think if I train here and get to the point of not pure exhaustion after I climb - I will naturally get faster, right?

  3. three things help increasing speed and all are not fun. first is interval training and if you can get to the point that you jog between intervals all the better. start with 440 intervals, then try to 1/2 mile ones. 220s are good too. Second are hills and inclines. and finally is the intermittent speeds known as fartleks are good. And of course an ocassional LSD (long slow distance) will build the endurance. Do not do intervals more then 2 times a week and once is usually good enough.