I question whether it is necessary to do hill repeats when one lives in a hilly city.
It probably isn’t. I mean, I could probably get a similar benefit from powering through the hills I encounter on my normal routes. I do wonder if one can run too many hills and if I’m not getting enough time on flat terrain, but it’s not like I am bounding up the side of Mt. Everest as my sole form of exercise.
The hill I chose for my hill repeats Tuesday is ideal in some ways and horrible in others. It’s about 3/4 mi into my route, but I have to reach it by going up hill. (This is why I question the wisdom of adding extra hills.) I also have to continue going up a hill once I’m done with the repeats in order to finish my route. Its good points outweigh the bad, I believe. The hill is about 200m, which is what the training plan suggested, it’s not too steep, it goes to a dead end, and the pavement isn’t uneven or cracked.
I wasn’t looking forward to this workout because I really don’t like running uphill. I also don’t like running up ramps or stairs. When I was in college the first time around, I was planning on being a Naval officer, and occasionally we would do our physical training in the football stadium. We would run the stairs of the bleachers and the access ramps and I would feel like dying even more than usual. (The sad part about that is I was still faster than I am now, and if I’d just tried harder I could have been a decent runner.)
I only had to do 4 hill repeats, and I have to say, they didn’t suck as much as I thought they would, and I didn’t suck as much as I thought I would. I hit 9:56 pace at the top of the hill on my last two repeats, which is surprising. Who knew I had that in me? I took the downhills slowly to try to recover my heart rate as best as I could. I wasn’t really looking at my watch much, but I think next week when I do more of these I will try to look at my heart rate and try to make sure I’m bringing it back down below 142 during my descent. (It goes without saying that I did not stay below my target heart rate for this run.)
At first, I didn’t feel too badly after I finished the repeats and started back on my normal route. I took it really slow, but then I had to speed up to get across a sidestreet when a driver waved me through, and then I thought my legs might give out on me for a few minutes, but I recovered, thanks to a timely traffic light and the choice to walk up a short hill.
I wrote this Tuesday night but scheduled it for Wednesday, so by the time this is published, I could be stiff, sore, and unable to walk. I hope not, because Wednesday has a 5 mile run on the docket, as well as some unknown form of precipitation, so I could be in for pain and suffering.