ORIGINAL POST DATE NOVEMBER 23 2009
I LOVE the Enmark Bridge Run! My first time and I'm very psyched about it!
The words of my USA Track and Field Coach, Jim Bowles, keep ringing in my ears when I start training for a hilly course: “We train to race, we don’t race to train.” This advice resonates on so many levels, but I just want to illuminate a couple of points.
One of the Bridge Run registrants invited me to train by running over the Talmadge Bridge and back, over the race course. But since it has been months since my legs have even seen a hill, much less run one, my response was, “Let’s do hill drills first.” With a few weeks to go before race day, I felt confident that I would have ample time to prepare for a visit to the course itself.
So in the same manner in which we train for more speed, with short intervals of race pace or higher, we can also prepare to endure inclines with short intervals of hill climbing. Push to fatigue and recover – push to fatigue and recover – repeat ad nauseum! No, no, just kidding, don’t push ‘til you get sick! But hill drills are much more efficient for building your performance than putting out an all out race effort on a training day.
Here’s the quick and dirty How To: Start with a good long warm up jog, at least 10+ minutes for you 5K folks, 20 minutes if you’re 10K ready. Hit that hill for 50-60 seconds, turn around and jog back down…repeat 6 to 12 times. If you get so tired that you can’t complete a charge up the hill for the full 50 seconds, then you know you’ve done your last repeat. That’s the simplest way to drill hills. Coach Jim makes us run back down with the same effort as the climb, then recover for a minute before the next climb…now there’s a good way to wreck any fondness for downhills! If you want individualized recommendations for your finish time goals, or heart rate targets during your intervals, email me and schedule a personal training consultation.
“…we don’t race to train.” This also speaks to the rush to prepare. Is this your first 5K? Or your first 10K? Or your first double pump? I sure hope you have given yourself a couple of months to prepare. Rushing to race readiness can increase your risk of soreness, fatigue, and injury. I can count on one hand the number of people I have known in my 20-year career who could comfortably double their running distance in the space of a few days or weeks, though I have known dozens who have tried.
Give your body the time it deserves to adapt to new demands. Even your ability to tolerate a climate shift of 10 or 20 degrees hotter or cooler, not unusual in Savannah this time of year, will be better when you gradually progress your preparation and your distance.
Be Well, see you at the Enmark Bridge Run on December 5!