Sunday, November 23, 2008

12 mile long run in Quartz Hill (1:37:15)

I wanted to get in a 12 mile run today to push my weekend total over 20 miles. I don't even know the last time I got in a 20 mile weekend. This was also my third day running in a row. I can't even tell you the last time I ran three days in a row. Needless to say my legs were pretty tired from the get go this morning. My pace was considerably slower than usual but I was more concerned with putting in the time on the road today.

It was a tough run. My legs were pretty tired from the hills yesterday and I picked a hilly route through Quartz Hill. I didn't eat before my run either so I had no extra energy. My average pace over the 12 miles was 8:06. I will take tomorrow off.

Dean Karnazes wrote about hill running in his new book. He says you can coast up hills or attack them. When coasting up hills you would try and keep your heart rate from increasing by more than 10 beats per minute. When attacking hills you run at a "hard but manageable effort," which I think is probably similar to a threshold type effort.
He also talks about steep hill sprints which are short bout maximum efforts similar to interval training, which is what I have been doing once a week. See yesterday's post. Dean says, "steep hill sprints build a more powerful stride" which is true. They are very effective for improving running economy (RE). Uphill workouts also provide less pounding on the body with the same or greater cardiovascular stress. Unfortunately, Sir Isaac Newton was right, what goes up must come down. Running downhill causes much more pounding and stress on the musculoskeletal system due to the braking forces involved. You could walk down the hill forward or even backward to minimize the stress on the quadriceps. The problem then becomes rest time between repetitions. You get more rest if you are walking down the hill. If the goal of the workout is to stress VO2max then I think you must jog down the hill to limit the rest interval to at most 1.5x the work interval. If the goal is maximum effort anaerobic sprints for stride power and running economy (which can be as short as 10-15 seconds and should be no longer than 45-60 seconds) then walking downhill is appropriate for a work to rest ratio of 1 to 3.

In my opinion hill running is a weakness for many runners and should be addressed in all training programs. I used to dread hills in races but now I know that I can use them to my advantage and I enjoy adding hill workouts to my training. I really feel like I got a workout after a good hard day of hills.

My colleague Clay Patten did some steep hill sprints today on 70th up to the aqueduct. See some pictures of his run here.


Ron said...

Hills Rock!!! How often should you do hills? Invervals and hills together? Threshold and hills together?

Karl Stutelberg said...

If you are training for a hilly course (ie: Palos Verdes) then some hills should be incorporated into your runs a few times per week. Hills for interval training could be done as much as once a week, but would be in place of your weekly interval workout. Threshold and hills...I think only if you are racing on a hilly course. Remember specificity of training. If your race is hilly you MUST run hills! I wish I had added hills to the end of my long runs in preparation for Boston. Anything to simulate your race situation is beneficial.
Hills are good training for any race though. It makes level ground feel so much easier. Remember you probably have to come down the hill too which is much harder on the legs, so too many hills and your legs will be drained. I hope that answers your question.