Thursday Thoughts – Hills Edition

I am once again pounding away through weekly hill repeat workouts, trying to prepare myself both mentally and physically for some decent inclines in next weekend’s Wicked Half and the rolling course that is the B.A.A. Half just a few weeks after.

On the plan today was 11 x 250 meter repeats plus warm up and cool-down. My legs now feel like jelly and as I fight the urge to just curl up in the fetal position for the rest of the day, I share these three quick tips to running hill repeats.

  1. Don’t underestimate the importance of your am swing! When I start to flag half way up a hill, focusing on my arm swing really helps to keep my legs powering along. As your arms go, so will your legs.
  2. Maintain a short, quick turnover — Avoid the tendency to overstride in hopes of gobbling up the hill in bigger chunks, otherwise you’re tempting injury.
  3. Keep your head up! While I like to lean slightly into the hill, be careful not to bend too much at the waist – this will cause strain in your lower back and makes breathing even harder. Run tall with your abs engaged – such as you would running a flat straightaway.

What are your tips for taking on hills?


Returning to Hills

Today marks the return to hill work on my training plan.

I’ve been looking forward to today with an odd mixture of dread and glee.

Yes I said it…glee! Because while I know in the moment of running repeats, my quads will be burning and I’ll be cursing like a sailor  that there’s the other side – there’s the strength training and confidence building that only running hills can bring.

And I’ve seen the results – last summer Coach Bennett introduced me to hill work and I truly thought the man was trying to kill me 🙂 Then I faced ZOOMA’s hilly Cape Cod course and the Newton hills of the Chilly half! While both courses were definitely challenging, the hill work Bennett had put me through prepared me both mentally and physically and I PR’d both courses! That’s where the glee comes in, from knowing the potential payoff.

So for the next few weeks, Thursdays are Hill Days and I say “Bring it on!”

Do you do specific hill training? Or do hills make you want to run screaming in the other direction?


Taking on the hills

It’s Friday! And my legs are toast!

It has been a good week for workouts – my runs have felt good, though yesterday’s hill work was killer hard and did leave me wondering – “How will I do this for the next 5 weeks?!” The plan called 8 x 250 meter hill repeats with 5 miles of warm-up and cool-down. Somewhere after the 5th or 6th repeat I think I may have started to question my coach’s sanity, and by the final repeat there was definitely a fair amount of cursing involved.

While I have done an occasional hill workout on the treadmill to break-up the monotony of a mill run, this is the first time I have hill work as an integral part of my training plan. I have always read that hill work will make you a stronger runner, and I’m definitely up for that benefit! I also freely admit that I’ve always had a bit of a mental block when it comes to hills – I can easily psyche myself out, so I’m counting on this devotion to hill work to help me break through that barrier.

After yesterday’s torture session, I know the key to taking the sting out of hill running is proper form. I went back to re-read a timely article my coach included in his most recent newsletter from the International Association of Women Runners – which you can read HERE. I also broke out my notes from my Chi Running workshop and their Hills and Trails DVD. Lean into the hill, quicker turnover and increased arm swing…Yes I’m going to become a student of hill running! I’ll let you know how it goes.

So tell me – do you find hill running easy? Is it a regular part of your training?


Thursday Thoughts (aka 3 Things)

My mind is a total jumble this morning as I’m trying to keep straight everyone’s schedules, backpack requirements, meeting times, groceries list, menu planning and other errands….yeah basically just the typical “Mom’s Brain Syndrome.” I would love one day when I could come down stairs in the morning and someone would tell me what I have scheduled for the day and then hand me a packed bag with all of the things I’ll need…a girl can dream can’t she?

After a great week of training capped off by a strong 11 mile run Saturday, I’m having a hard time finding a groove this week. Being up with my sick little guy half the night earlier this week hasn’t helped, but in general the runs have just been ok verging on blah. Guess that’s part of the ebb and flow of running.

The FedEx guy delivered my PureConnects yesterday (cue the angels!) I’m silly excited to try this shoe out, but it probably won’t be today as I’m off to do hill work and I doubt hills are the best way to try out a new shoe. Tomorrow’s suppose to be a rest day, but I may need to sneak a couple in just so I can give these shoes a go.


Week 2 Begins & Gotein Winners

So week 1 of Philly training is complete – it was a little all over the place as I making tweaks. After checking out the boys’ school schedule, adding more hill and speed work, and taking into account a couple of 10ks I hope to run, I think I’ve got a plan that will work.

On the decks for this week:

Monday:          Yoga

Tuesday:          Hill repeats (6)

Wednesday:     Easy run (3) plus Strength work

Thursday:         Tempo run (5)

Friday:               Rest

Saturday:          Pilates Reformer

Sunday:             Long run (8 or 9)


Gotein Giveaway Winners!

With the help of, the winners are Danielle (DEM) and Jenna Z! Congrats ladies! Shoot me at email at runningwithattitude (at) yahoo (dot) com.


Treadmill hills

Driving rain combined with a little thunder and lightening meant I was heading to the treadmill this morning. To keep it interesting I decided to do a hills workout. I picked the “foothills” workout from Running Planet that I’ve mentioned here before – I like it because it stairsteps up and down through a couple of inclines for a total of five miles, which was the perfect distance for my training plan today.

Basically, after a little warm-up, you pick an incline to start, run 1 mile then increase the incline by 1 and run 3/4 of a mile, increase the incline again by 1 and run a 1/2 mile then increase the incline one more time by 1 and run another 1/2 mile. You then decrease the incline in increments of 1 to return to your starting incline, while running another 1/2 mile, then 3/4 mile and then final mile. For me, this workout really makes the time on the ‘mill fly by! If you’re looking to mix it up a little on the treadmill, I say give hills a try!

Short easy run on the decks tomorrow before my first double digit run on Friday! I hope the weather cooperates, ’cause there’s no way I’m doing my first 10 miler on the lovely ‘mill.

Do you have a favorite treadmill workout?


Hills on the ‘Mill

One of my goals for 2011 is to “embrace hill repeats into my training.” Well lo and behold, on the training plan today was hill work.  The problem? Mother Nature dropped 15″ on my doorstep yesterday. And, while  beautiful, the streets this morning still looked too much like a winter wonderland for hill work. So there was only one choice….face the ‘mill.

I was determined to not whine about being on the treadmill as I’ve been known to do. New year…new attitude, right? Besides, I figured the challenge of the hill work would help to pass the time. I found a workout on Running Planet called The Foot Hills which was described as an “entry level treadmill hill workout.” Perfect! It looked challenging enough and I liked that with it I would cover 5 miles.

I’m happy to say I completed it! And, for the first time I ran 5 miles on a treadmill — 3 has always seemed like torture to me! Focusing on the changing inclines and my form really helped the time (and miles) to click by. My glutes and quads are sore, but it’s a good kind of sore if you know what I mean.  And… IT issues!! So I will definitely be doing this workout again and checking out other ways to mix-it up on the ‘mill.

Happy Running!