Hills

I realized after last week’s race and the hiking I’ve been doing recently that I’m out of shape in terms of being able to run/hike up hills. The Leprechaun Lope 10K course ran up a canyon that I regularly trained in last year, so I know my nearly 14:00/mile pace from the race going up that same canyon is slow for me. I decided I needed to start incorporating some hill work into my training.

By my house there is a pretty long hill. I trained on a section of it last year and decided to go back to that hill yesterday. According to my Garmin, the section I run as my hill repeat is 0.29 miles long and has an elevation gain of 127 feet, making it an average grade of 8.3%. Parts of it are steeper than others, and my feel of it tells me the second half going up is steeper than the first half. I would say that it might be in my head, but I glance at my Garmin as I go up, and it confirms my suspicions. Here’s a picture of The Hill:

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Trust me, it runs harder than it looks.

I did a hilly (because there are no flat spots near my house) one mile warm up, then four jogs up the hill. My philosophy was to run as slow as I needed to to get to the top without taking any walk breaks. Once I got to the top, I jogged slowly back down then waited at the bottom for my heart rate to get under 125 beats/min. Rinse. Repeat three times. Jog home.

My times for The Hill were as follows: 4:22, 4:31, 4:45, 4:51. Slow, but that was fine by me. My goal was to set a base line, this makes it easier to gauge my improvement as I run The Hill throughout the year. On a side note, when I did this workout last year, I was a minute faster going up The Hill, oof!

Here’s a picture from Garmin Connect showing my heart rate and elevation changes as I worked out:

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I think it’s cool to see how my heart rate changes as I run up The Hill. My heart rate maxed out at 193, which in theory is higher than my maximum heart rate (?). I often wonder about heart rate data. My heart rate always seems high, even when I’m really fit. I don’t think my resting heart rate has been below 72 beats per minute in the last several years. When I’m training/racing hard, my heart rate is often above 190 (in theory my max should be 188 based on my age), and I’ve seen it get to 200. I guess it’s comforting to know I’m not slacking off at my moderately slow pace, my heart rate should be lower if I were, but I wonder if I’m causing any harm by pushing my heart so hard? Any doctors out there? There was a recent news story about a 16 year old girl who died after finishing a half marathon last week, I’ve run lots of halfs and am not worried about dropping dead, but as I prepare for a full marathon (my second after getting a DNF in my first one seven years ago – I finished less than five minutes after cutoff), I wonder about my cardiac health. I might consult a sports medicine doctor about this…

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