Saturday, October 13, 2012

You're crazy if you like hillwork

I love a flat course just as much as I love breaking a Personal Record.  And usually they go hand-in-hand.  But I've hit a speed bump in my pace.  I'm slow, and probably always will be.  I'm asian, our people aren't known for breaking world records in the running community.  But I want to get faster.  I've trained for endurance the last 6 months, and I've changed my diet to help with recovery.  Now it's time to face the fact that without speedwork, I'm not going to get any PRs anytime soon.  And as Legendary Runner Frank Shorter once said, "Hills are Speedwork in Disguise".

I've never focused on getting faster, just finishing.  It was enough to cross that finish line and get my medal.  I did earn some PRs along the way, but I want to beat my current PR of 2:48 earned at the Inaugural San Diego Half Marathon in 2012.  So adding hillwork is new to me, and I've had to do a bit of research.

Two great articles on hillwork can be found at:

  • : Speedwork in Disguise.  To paraphrase a portion of the article, speed doesn't come from the foot pushing off the ground.  It comes from the ability to bring the opposite leg forward FASTER.  Hillwork is resistance training and makes the hip flexors STRONGER and able to react FASTER.  
  • Running Times Magazine: Hit the Hills.  Besides having great descriptions of different types of hill workouts, this article addresses an additional benefit of hillwork: Improved form.  Running hills will tire you out and mimic the fatigue that comes with the end of a race.  If you practice maintaining proper running form during these workouts, you're working towards running injury free, running faster and having a GREAT finish line photo.
As for my race training, I plan to add Hill Sprints at the end of one of my weekly short runs and my distance runs will be Hilly Up-Tempo Runs.  I'm not looking forward to the WORK but I am looking forward to the RESULTS.

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