Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Looking for a Good Week

A view on the way down Sabino Mountain

After 4 easy miles last evening, I decided to keep things simple by not integrating a hill day into a long run this week. Instead, the rest of the week will be a plain-old alternating schedule of hills and long runs, which put me back on Sabino Mountain road this morning. A "typical" hill week for me should look something like this, with hill workouts ending up 9-12 miles or so- M: 12(double), T: Hills, W: 16, TH: Hills, F: 16, SA: Hills, SU: 22. I'll also try to work a few more easy 4 mile runs into some evenings if time permits and I feel like it. Back on October 12 I wrote the following about what I focus on during the hill workouts-

"As I poured over my copy of "Running to the Top" and Nobby's gracious notes on hill training last night, there was quite a bit of information to digest. I decided to take the same approach as I did with golf and focus on one element at a time. Lydiard describes three types of hill training; steep hill running, hill bounding, and hill springing. He suggests starting with steep hill running, then progressing to bounding and eventually springing as your condition improves.

I was set to tackle steep hill running and maybe some bounding. For the first, I was going to think about two things-
-Running slowly and taking short steps(to add resistance and avoid getting into an anaerobic state)
-exaggerate and maintain high knee-lift (hill running is meant to make it easier to maintain knee-lift more constant through a race)

For bounding, I was going to think about-
-back leg extension (getting my back leg straight at take-off to get "power and stride", and avoid running like I'm "sitting in a bucket"
-taking longer strides (like a triple-jumper)"

Last week I limited myself to just steep hill running as I acclimated to the increased range of motion (and the resulting soreness). I have to say I certainly wasn't as sore in the first week as I was the first time around in October. This week I'm incorporating 30-60 seconds of bounding into the three minute hill effort, most of it towards the end of the interval when the hill flattens out. I would say that bounding is more suited to doing on a softer surface like grass or dirt if possible, as there is quite a bit of impact force from the longer, bigger strides. The triple-jumper imagery Nobby suggested really helped me, as well as reviewing Nobby's Five Circles Lydiard hill phase DVD, which he's mentioned putting on their redesigned website when it launches.

I ended up with 9.25 miles for the day in about 80 minutes, so while I'm not accumulating more mileage than during my conditioning phase, I'm certainly pounding the pavement longer. I did the usual four circuits today, with a 3 minute effort up the steep hill followed by two minutes of relaxed running (with hopefully good form) to the top of the hill. I then run down gingerly (it's too steep for me to do windsprints down) and end the circuit with 3x100 windsprints, all slightly downhill on an easier grade. Then back to the base and do it all over again. The whole circuit is just over 1.3 miles.

My motivation is strong this week, and I'm hoping I start to make the same kind of gains I did during the hill phase the first time around, where my paces really started to drop on my longer runs of the week without any extra effort. I saw a little of that last week on my 16 milers, but the 22 mile death march at the end of the week still gives me pause.

Training: today, 9.25 miles so far in about 80 minutes, with 4 hill circuits
Yesterday pm., 4 miles easy at low 7:20 pace

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