Technical post about hills

This is my first go at a ‘serious’ running post so bear with me if it falls short of the mark.

After my second marathon I bumped into a woman who moonlighted as ‘Ms. Sparkle’ at kids’ parties. She had also run a 3:03 to my 3:35 at the Cork City Marathon in 2008. Apart from weighting about 7 or 8 stone to my 12.5 I asked her what was the most important part of her training. She said ‘Hills – run them once a week’.

So I followed her advice and in my next marathon I got my time down to 3:20. That’s where the good news story ends and I ended up running hills religiously and when exhausted and injured and my times haven’t come back since.

Still, it is a weekly excuse to doss off on a saturday afternoon/evening and go running with the smell of manure.

The route I take starts at a carpark at a place called Harty’s Quay (once a Quay, now a posh gated apartment development) and goes about a mile up-hill to Rochestown College (St. Francis Capuchin College)- where I passed 5 years of my life. Then it is another mile to the top of the hill and then a mile down hill to Monkstown Golf Club and then another sharp climb for about a half mile past the golf club. Then it is a very steep quad hurting, ball of foot burning half mile down to sea level again. Then at 4.3 miles it is a 2 mile hill that does not give in. It is a constant climb up and up and up until your lungs want to burst and you wonder why you’re doing this. Then it ends and you have about a half mile of quad wrecking back to Rochestown College and then a race against the clock back to Harty’s Quay.

In the last few weeks I have taken to the hills again – mainly because of my need to get a bit of strength going and they are starting to become enjoyable. A sign that I may be getting fitter at last.

Rochestown/Monkstown/Raffeen Hills – 7.56 miles
Date Time Pace (min/mile) HR av. HR max
06 March 2010 00:54:45 07:14 161 186
27 February 2010 00:55:46 07:21 164 184
20 February 2010 00:56:13 07:26 159 182
Dublin Training injured hip 3:34
09 October 2009 00:57:55 07:38 161 175
26 August 2009 01:02:42 08:17 148 162
25 June 2009 00:58:22 07:43 158 171
Cork Training – DNF – Heat
24 May 2009 00:56:47 07:30 156 170
17 May 2009 00:57:32 07:35 155 174
11 May 2009 00:56:09 07:25 160 176
Rotterdam Training Virus- 3:45
13 March 2009 00:57:36 07:33 151 171
06 March 2009 00:56:43 07:30 156 171
27 February 2009 00:55:20 07:17 159 173

The 3 hill sessions under each marathon entry represent the build up to that marathon (Rotterdam was early April 09, Cork was early June ’09 and Dublin was late October ’09).

You can see that (apart from having great excuses for poor marathon performances) I have made some progress in the last few weeks with these hills. This has translated into an easy 7:30 pace for longer runs and easy runs (a marathon pace?).

All I need now is a marathon to run in the next few weeks (and some endurance training).

If you think this post is impressive you’d have been even more impressed if the google maps link had worked and the deleted hidden table under this text had actually been deleted and not just shrunk down to nothing!

I have also realised that by leaving all my runs classified as ‘uncategorised’ I have created a shit load of work for myself in coming up with a post like this.

Still, if I have 2 hours to spare again I might post another one of these ‘serious’ posts.


3 responses to “Technical post about hills

  1. Running over an undulating course can certainly help both cardio fitness and muscle strength. I noticed a huge improvement when I changed my regular running route from a flat one to a more hilly one. I’d also recommend including some hill sprint sessions (say reps of short (100m), medium (200-300m) and long (up to 400m)) into your programme.

  2. Yea, Hill repeats, like all intervals are something I ‘should’ do. But I suppose my lack of commitment is evidenced in not doing them. I might slip a few in between now and Ballycotton.

  3. I run that route a bit as well – the hill up by Rafeen recycling centre is v tough but it is a great fitness barometer, as after a few weeks hard training I was getting up the hill a lot better.. a good confidence boost for racing

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