This weekend was my first attempt to incorporate hills into my run and bike training. With my upcoming triathlon and 10 mile road race being on hilly courses, I figured it was time. I know most of you other runners do hill workouts as part of your regular training, but I am a wimp. If I could run on a flat trail all the time, that would be just fine with me. A few hills on the bike are a welcome change of pace, but I would prefer to stay seated and not have to stand and grind the pedals.
My plan for Saturday morning was to go to Baker Park where there is a really long hill broken up by a couple short plateaus. There is a parking lot about a mile away from the hill, so I planned to drive to the park, run to the hill as a warm-up, do the hill three or four times, and run back to the car. Before I go to bed each night, I always have my workout for the next day planned out. What time am I leaving? Where am I going? What am I bringing? I don't like surprises.
You can see where this is going... my son had a Cross Country practice and needed to be dropped off and picked up at the same time I was going to run. I only had an hour after I dropped him off to get my run finished. This meant I had no time to drive to and from the park as I had planned. The plan became: find the nearest hill and run it. That's it. There was no time for searching out the perfect spot. The beach where we did the Splash & Dash was right there and I remembered that the first half mile was up a steady incline. I parked at the beach and took off. As I did my first trip up, I measured out a quarter mile. Up and down the hill I went 8 times. After the last climb, I went a little further so that when I got back to the car I would be right at 5 miles.
Technically, I guess it was a hill workout. The hill wasn't very long and honestly, it wasn't super steep. It wasn't the well planned workout that I had hoped for, but it will have to do. Since my hamstrings have been hurting, maybe it was good that I didn't pound them on this first attempt. They felt fine today and I was able to ride the bike for a hilly 26 miles. Since the run hill was pretty easy, it's too early to say whether I truly like hill workouts, but I will say that it went by fast and I liked the short efforts.
We're headed to St. Louis, MO for a couple days next week. During my last run out at Forest Park, there were a couple of nasty, long hills. They will make this week's hill look like a small bump in the road. Until then, I'll keep working on the run on my regular flatter, sane routes. They are still my favorite!