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Runng Log: Hills Are Your Friends!

Contributed By Michele Gonzalez, Author of NYC Running Mama 
 If you are like me, then you know that hills suck when you are doing them.  But they pay dividends on race day.


Photo Courtesy of Michelle
My target race this spring is the NJ Marathon. Even though it’s a pancake flat course, I am incorporating some hill-specific workouts as well as general hill training into my training plan. Knowing that I’ve done hill training is a huge mental boost for me when I’m racing. I feel stronger knowing I’ve done those hill repeats.

There are a few ways that I incorporate some hill work into my training:
- Choose the route with hills.  If you have the choice between a totally flat course and one with some rolling hills (during training runs), go for the hills.  Your splits won’t be as fast, but it will pay off in the end.  I was confronted with this choice the last two Saturdays on my 12 and 14 mile runs.  If I run south from where I live, it’s almost entirely flat.  I decided to run north which has three back-to-back hills that would each rival cat hill in central park.
Do mini-hill workouts in the middle of your run.  Working on hills doesn’t always have to be a stand-alone workout.  Do hill repeats if there is a good-sized hill on your run.  When I was training for Boston in 2008/2009, I was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq.  I knew I needed to do some hill work because of Boston’s course – but the entire base was totally flat – with the exception of one hill (all of the signal/radar equipment was kept on this man-made hill).  It was .3 miles up.  I would often run up and down it 2-3x times in a row in the middle or towards the end of my daily runs.
Dedicate one training day/week to hills.  Hill days are probably my least favorite day of the week. I have a handful of workouts that I do – some on the treadmill and others when I am outside.
I normally do a warm-up and cool-down of one mile each on a flat route, GP = Goal Pace, RP = Recovery Pace
Do you do hill workouts?  Do you like them?
Do you have any hill workouts you do? Please share! I’m always looking for new workouts! 
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