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WOTW: Hilly 9 Mile Run

Here’s the first installation of the new Workout of the Week (WOTW) series.   I’m starting with the hilly 9 mile run that I’ve done probably 3 times in the last month.

Overview of the Workout:  This run starts and finishes at my house, so it’s an efficient use of my time.  It started as a 7 miler that I charted out to run with some friends that I ran with over lunch on Fridays during the winter.  Since the route targeted all of the steepest pitches in the immediate area, it became known as “Alicia’s Hell Run”.  Probably a bit of an exaggeration, but I can live with that.  I added an additional loop with some more elevation changes to bring the run up to around 9 miles.

Purpose(s):   There are several purposes for this workout.   First, to encourage mental acceptance of going up and down steep pitches as “no big deal”.  Secondly, to train the specific muscle movements used in running up and down steeper hills.  These two things are important for short course Tri Nats (one of my A events), because that run course has 3 significant and steep hills in the first 5k. 

Why 9 miles?  The third purpose of this run prepares me for both A events, including the flat half iron distance in Myrtle Beach, and that is to expand the length of what my body thinks is a “standard distance run”.  Over the winter, my standard was 7-8 miles because that’s the distance I ran more often than not.   Now, I’m trying to get in one or two 9 mile runs each week (except when freshening for a race) to bump the needle a little to the right on the standard run distance scale.  This additional mileage beyond standard shortens to 4 miles for the half.  Further, it makes that hard run at the end of an Olympic tri feel relatively shorter.  Surely I can run hard as I can for just a measly 2/3 of the distance of my standard run, yes? 

Primary Goals:  Pace comfortably, stay loose and efficient both up and down hills, think about stride efficiency, practice staying properly hydrated, and enjoy myself.

Pace:  How fast the average mile is doesn’t matter.  Staying loose and efficient matters.  Depending on my fitness and freshness at any point I do the run, the pace could range anywhere from 9 minute miles to 7:30’s.  Lately, it’s been closer to the slower end.  I’ve been seeking out quality and speed through other avenues.

I think that’s everything.  Any questions?

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