Thursday, July 16, 2009

Run up hill; run down hill; repeat 11 times

A hill workout. Wow. Tonight, I ran a hill repeat workout with a running group I have belonged to for over a year and never actually done anything with, the Reservoir Dogs. (The Central Park Reservoir is one of the most famous loops in Central Park, and the name is obviously a play on that and the movie.) I joined the club after I saw them at a race several years ago and they seemed like they were young and fun. Alas, my schedule never really allowed me to join the runs or otherwise do much. But a friend joined the group and tonight he encouraged me to come along on the Wednesday night hill run. According to FIRST, I was due for a speed workout, but I figured a hill repeat would do just fine.

So we met in Central Park at 7 pm. I haven't run in Central Park on a weekday in years, and I was blown away by the number of runners, bikers and people in general -- more than on a weekend. It was also a beautiful night, so many people were out, but wow, what a great place to run. (I love running in the city.)

Anyway, the workout was actually up and down Cat Hill 10 times at whatever pace you could maintain. It was a quarter mile up and then a quarter mile down, with an elevation gain of about 70 feet on way up. I have lots of hills in my runs, so I wasn't all that worried. But this was different. For starters, it was up and down and up and down, etc. Normally, when I have a hill in a run, it is run up to the top of the hill, and then it is either flat for a while or back down and then flat. It is not up a hill every other quarter mile. And some of the guys in the group were FAST. So after quickly concluding they would dust me, I ran my own pace and workout. It was really, really hard. Because of the way we came into the park and were late to meet the group, we actually ended up running the hill 11 times. My legs are really beat.

This FIRST program may decrease the number of runs, but it sure can beat you up. Three HARD workouts a week is just hard. For an "off" day, yesterday I rowed for 45 minutes on the rowing machine. And then I had a 30 minute stretching session with a trainer. That felt both great and terrible. She really pushed and pulled my legs and hips and back. I am sore and tired from that. She told me my hamstrings and quads are way too tight and I need more stretching to loosen them up. I hate to stretch really, so this came as no great shock. That was one of the reasons I booked the session-- to get a good stretch. I highly recommend it if anyone has the chance.

Tomorrow, I am taking the day off. A hard tempo workout Monday, rowing and stretching Tuesday, hills Wednesday means Thursday is an off day. According to FIRST, I need one more hard workout this week -- a long run of 13 miles at marathon pace plus 30 seconds. That should be OK given my recent runs (for example that will be about a minute per mile slower than my recent half marathon pace). But then next week is another series of HARD workouts. Maybe the FIRST program should be renamed the HARD program.


  1. So jealous you get to run in Central Park! I've only visited there once, and it was snowing (but still BEAUTIFUL) and want to get back so bad for a run. Great job pushing through, I love the hill work outs... just wish Orlando had more "real" hills instead of the overpass I use! LOL! Enjoy your rest day! Take it easy, relax and do some stretching!

  2. The hills I run are like that. Up and down. Up and down. I think you'll really benefit from these.

    Stretching session sounds good to me! And follow it up with a massage. ;)

  3. Hey, I'm following the same training plan, though I got it from the book, and it sounds like the specifics vary a bit.

    I was actually in the park last night fighting through that week one 13-miler and am pretty sure I ran right past you guys...

  4. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog!
    Wow, those hill repeats sound tough!!! I've only done hill repeats twice, and they were both killer. But I should start incorporating them into my routine again; I think they really make you stronger as a runner.
    Good luck with the stretching!

  5. Nice hill workout! I make the mistake of starting off too fast and am beat by the 6th repeat. Running with another person is a good way to push yourself. When I run with my friend Andrew, I always seem to run a faster pace. Great job!

  6. BTW, I gave you an award on my blog. Check it out, it's kind of interesting.

  7. That sounds like a great workout. Cat Hill can be very challenging, even though it doesn't look as intense as the Harlem Hill. In fact, it's my least favorite of the two by far.


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