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Running a hilly race (Read 259 times)

zonykel


    I have the New River Half Marathon coming up May 4. It has a couple of big hills (around n roughly mile 2 and mile 8, respectively), and a couple of smaller hills in between.

     

    any recommendations on how to run the race? There are corresponding downhills to the uphills I mentioned, so I'll probably have to watch my speed then as well.

      At the risk of sounding obvious: shoot for even effort.  Running up the hill should feel no harder than running on the flat.  If you can do this, your speed will adjust as needed.

       

      Likewise, run even effort on the downhill, and you will speed up without pounding your legs too much.

       

      Alternatively, I like to tell people to accept that they must give to the hill on the way up, knowing that you can take from the hill on the way down.  People who suffer in hilly races confuse the order of the two.

      "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
      Emil Zatopek

      zonykel


        Thanks for the feedback. I'm trying to think of how to run even effort. Let me explore several aspects:

         

        1. Even pace will not result in even effort. Uphill will definitely be harder in terms of heart rate and leg effort.

         

        2. Even heart rate may result in even effort, but I have a feeling I might go too slow on the uphill.

         

        3. Watching my breathing may be a good indicator as opposed to heart rate. I haven't played with that yet.

         

        i suppose I shouldn't over think it either.

          Even effort is probably a misnomer but try to manage the effort on the uphills so you don't blow up and then make sure to work the downhills. You can recover while running pretty fast downhill, you just need to have faith. Try to keep the brakes off and let your legs roll.

           

          The downhills never give back as much as the uphills take, so don't expect to be as fast as you would on a flat course.

          Runners run.

            1.  You only learn even effort by practicing even effort.  The best way to practice is to do the thing you want to do.  In this case, that means practicing running by feel.  Start by, perhaps, running a few tempos with all the feedback from your watch turned off.  Do it on a flat course, at first.  Turn off lap alerts.  Have the watch show nothing but time.  Run for a set amount of time, look at your splits after.  Do this maybe once a week.

             

            2.  Heart rate lags as an indicator, and is therefore inferior to learning to run by feel.  You can use it to guide to what certain effort levels feel like.  I would not want to race using it.

             

            3.  #1 will deal with this for you.

            "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
            Emil Zatopek

              Yeah, this is true.  Race pace is not even in that the pace will be easy (ish) at first and a crushing weight at the end.

               

              Even effort is probably a misnomer but try to manage the effort on the uphills so you don't blow up and then make sure to work the downhills. You can recover while running pretty fast downhill, you just need to have faith. Try to keep the brakes off and let your legs roll.

               

              The downhills never give back as much as the uphills take, so don't expect to be as fast as you would on a flat course.

              "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
              Emil Zatopek

                Yeah, even effort is key. You can really get into a pretty relaxed space running uphill... I've got to drive to get out of the hills so I end up running them a lot and although it took me a little bit to fall into it, I think when you're doing it right you feel like a hill climbing machine that can just go up and up and up. Short strides, quick cadence, bring the arms into it... oh, and it's easy to push too much/overstride as you come up to the crest. Just stay focused. That'll be important during the race as well because there are an astounding number of people who are bad at hill running and they will bound past you on the uphills. Stick to the hill machine routine, keep the strides short and quick on the downhills if you want to keep the pounding to a minimum, and I'll bet you fly past most of them. Running lightly downhill I think is actually the greater skill.

                11/1 - Mendon Trail Run - 50k

                  Ok, I don't mean to harp on this, but I really love hill running. I kind of have to. Where I live it's like paved frozen tidal waves. But anyway I took a look at the elevation map for that race and it is *very* similar to a couple of training routes I do in terms of the grade of the big hills and where they're placed and I can't stress enough getting your uphill efficiency thing set... sure, you can probably pound the downhills and your body will hate you (but not until afterward), but being able to run up that first and biggest hill and still feel fresh is gonna be huge for the rest of your race, and knowing that you've got a method to deal with the only slightly smaller guy later on when you're tired will make a big difference psychologically. I've got to imagine that there's as much variability there as there is with general form, but strength is nothing. Efficiency is everything. I've got a hill that's part of a regular 5 miler that's up 300 feet in a little under a mile and I'm faster on it now than a month ago with weeping and gnashing of teeth. I swear I'm not stronger, just smarter.

                   

                  Oh, and good luck! I'd really like to hear how you do.

                  11/1 - Mendon Trail Run - 50k

                    Agree with mikeymike that most people will go harder on the uphill than the downhill. The idea is to keep it under control. It's probably closer to even effort than even pace. Those hills are about 300ft, 6% so not too bad - unless you choose to let him freak you out. Wink

                     

                    I'd look at how long you expect the race to take you (1.3 hr or 3 hr) and take that as the approximate effort needed. Increase a bit on the up, flow with gravity on the downs. If you have hills like that near you, practice on them. If you've got flat at the bottom, then maybe use a 0.5 mi runout, turnaround and run back up. After the down, flats will feel like they're up. And the 2nd up will feel harder. Remember to run OVER the top of the hills

                     

                    While I learned effort with a hrm, that's also when I learned about the delay in hrms. Like driving a car, if you keep the pedal down until the speedometer indicates your desired speed, you'll overshoot.

                     

                    I was playing around with the Gettysburg address (at least the first sentence) yesterday on a hill (about 1200ft in 3.7mi on asphalt and another 300ft or so in 1.3mi on packed snow). When running aerobically uphill, there are natural breaks where I tended to breathe on the uphill. On the downhill, it flows out as one easy sentence. I wasn't racing in either direction.

                     

                    If you're well trained and near the 1.5hr expected time range, you may find you can run up near 1-hr race effort and recover on the down. Repeat. You'll have to figure out what works for you. The big hills are a fairly small part of the entire race, which looks like it's got enough rollers to keep from getting bored.

                     

                    You get better at hills the more you run them - all flavors.

                     

                    Have fun.

                    "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
                    dallison


                    registered pw

                      I try to train on hills but i am not speedy at it. It's a consistancy thing for me. During a race i am almost always passed  but that is b/c i am relaxing going up and not pushing myself, which is good and bad.

                       

                      I have a hill that has 500 ft in elevation gain in 1.3 miles with a dogleg that i run to make the round trip 3.7 miles. Sometimes i'll run it 3-4 times. That really work s the legs and you have to be careful running downhill. You can get injured if you go too fast when running downhill.

                      2013 goals:

                      sub 19 5k

                      sub 1:30 half

                      3:20 marathon on second try

                      kristin10185


                      I race in SparkleSkirts

                        I have a half (will be my first) in which miles 4-7 are uphill (one continuous hill) and then 10-13 are downhill. 7-10 is pretty flat with some very minor undulations. Would the same advice apply of the up and downhill are 3 miles each, and separated by 3 miles?

                        PRs:   5K- 28:16 (5/5/13)      10K- 1:00:13 (10/27/13)    4M- 41:43 (9/7/13)   15K- 1:34:25  (8/17/13)    10M- 1:56:30 (4/6/14)     HM- 2:20:16 (4/13/14)

                         

                        I started a blog about running :) Check it out if you care to

                          I have a half (will be my first) in which miles 4-7 are uphill (one continuous hill) and then 10-13 are downhill. 7-10 is pretty flat with some very minor undulations. Would the same advice apply of the up and downhill are 3 miles each, and separated by 3 miles?

                          Again, it partly depends on how long you think you'll be out there (1.5-3+ hrs). But in this scenario with just one major hill and no ups after the big down, I'd push a little harder, but not so hard you can't run the flat on top. And that last downhill, I'd let it rip - assuming you've trained on downhills. Again, practice the various efforts on hills similar to your race, if you can, to dial it in. Assuming footing isn't an issue, you should be fastest on the downs, then the flats, and slowest on the ups. If it's a mountain, your effort will probably be highest on the uphill, but don't burn out there.

                           

                          Maybe I should also ask, do you have an elevation profile of your race? (I was going to ask about your training, esp. up and down hills, but didn't check your log before posting.)

                           

                          PS: Just checked your log and I'm assuming this is elevation profile for Baltimore HM (in your sig). I'd worry more about basic base than hill strategies. Your HM isn't for another 6 months, if I'm reading things right. And the elevation profile looks like a very exaggerated y axis. You're only going up about 150 ft between miles 4 and 7. Do include some hilly routes in your training and practice running OVER the top of the hill. Many people run hills hard, then recover on top while others pass them.

                          "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
                          kristin10185


                          I race in SparkleSkirts

                            Again, it partly depends on how long you think you'll be out there (1.5-3+ hrs). But in this scenario with just one major hill and no ups after the big down, I'd push a little harder, but not so hard you can't run the flat on top. And that last downhill, I'd let it rip - assuming you've trained on downhills. Again, practice the various efforts on hills similar to your race, if you can, to dial it in. Assuming footing isn't an issue, you should be fastest on the downs, then the flats, and slowest on the ups. If it's a mountain, your effort will probably be highest on the uphill, but don't burn out there.

                             

                            Maybe I should also ask, do you have an elevation profile of your race? (I was going to ask about your training, esp. up and down hills, but didn't check your log before posting.)

                             

                            PS: Just checked your log and I'm assuming this is elevation profile for Baltimore HM (in your sig). I'd worry more about basic base than hill strategies. Your HM isn't for another 6 months, if I'm reading things right. And the elevation profile looks like a very exaggerated y axis. You're only going up about 150 ft between miles 4 and 7. Do include some hilly routes in your training and practice running OVER the top of the hill. Many people run hills hard, then recover on top while others pass them.

                             

                            Yes....race is in 6 months (yes, I am worrying very early lol) and it is the Baltimore Half. Training-wise right now I am building base and plan to do a 20 week Running Wizard plan than will start next month. I do live in a hilly area so I have lots of opportunities to practice on hills, as well as a hilly 10K next month, a hilly 10M this summer, and a hilly 5K under my belt so I will hopefully be good at hills by then. But the whole 3 straight miles uphill, 3 flat, then 3 downhill is unfamiliar to me. Most hills I run on are "rolling." For example, here is the elevation off a 5K last month:

                             

                            That was a hard race for me....but at least every uphill had a downhill that followed. 3 miles uphill in the Baltimore half....yeeeesh!

                            PRs:   5K- 28:16 (5/5/13)      10K- 1:00:13 (10/27/13)    4M- 41:43 (9/7/13)   15K- 1:34:25  (8/17/13)    10M- 1:56:30 (4/6/14)     HM- 2:20:16 (4/13/14)

                             

                            I started a blog about running :) Check it out if you care to

                              ok, you should be fine then. Some of those Lydiard hill workouts / drills work better than most hill workouts you get elsewhere, esp. for developing power.

                               

                              I don't think that your hills are large enough or steep enough (at least not the BHM) that you'll need to worry too much about the downhills, other than not blowing all your resources on the uphill - be sure to have enough to run OVER the top and flow with gravity down the other side.

                               

                              Here's one article on downhill training, which I've found very valuable in my training. It's not something you have to do all the time since it has some staying power.

                               

                              Have fun.

                              "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
                              daisymae25


                              Squidward Bike Rider

                                For the Danbury Half, I actually found the longest hill I could I find in my area that was similar in grade compared to the worst climb in Danbury (2.3% grade between miles 8 and 10).  Then I incorporated that hill into my last long run before the half...3 times.  I ran loops, making sure I did the hill once in the beginning, once in the middle, and once at the end.  All three times, I tried to push the pace just a little harder than the rest of my run.  The third time was definitely the hardest, but I think it definitely prepared me both physically and mentally for Danbury.

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