Hey Everyone, Amand from Runtothefinish here! I am super excited to be doing a guest post for Danica while she is in my neck of the woods (miami). I am not the chef that she is so instead I’ll throw some thoughts at you about my passion..running!!
When I started running, I did a lot of hill workouts… I planned every run to avoid any hills within the area meaning sometimes I had to run farther, but I didn’t have to run hills. After my first 1/2 marathon I realized I need to do some hills.
Clearly this meant finding the BIGGEST hill available. The first time I tried to run it, I only made it part of the way up, the next time I still couldn’t…still couldn’t…still… then one day I DID IT! My boyfriend at the time couldn’t understand why I kept babbling about running up some darn hill, but I was so amazed that something inside me clicked mentally. After that day, there was no option for me to ever not make it up that hill again because I knew I could. My current training plan called for 50 minutes of hill work at an 8:50 pace this week…It started with 30 minutes which felt tough, so I was nervous about 50 minutes…but I cranked it out at 8:27 and didn’t even use music for the first 22 minutes!
It scares me each time I go out to do this workout, but if I can run that hill one time, then I can do it again…and again…and again. I do practice both sprinting up and down the hill to get the benefits of both sides of muscle control. My mental mantra is that I don’t have to do this forever, but I can do it for this one repeat. So why the focus on hill work? What is it providing?
- Your muscles are forced to contract more powerfully…speed benefit
- Increased quad power allows you to pick up your knees…speed benefit
- Improve elasticity of muscles and tendons… less fatigue
- Using a variety of muscles, instead of constant pounding on flat… reduce injury
- Improved cardiovascular fitness…distance benefit
- Less impact running hills because of shorter stride… reduce injury
- Improved arm swing. You pump your arms more vigorously to get up the hill faster …speed benefit
Fantastic tips Amanda ~ I still hate HILLS, but, I think you give me some great things to think about as I am cursing my way up them 🙂
Thanks again Amanda ~ be sure to check out Amanda’s site, Run To The Finish for some great inspiration on running and so much more – I LOVE her energy and optimism!
Are you including hill workouts in your current program?