Monday, August 30, 2010

Addendum to Know Your Course: Run Down Hills

If you're training for a hilly course, it's sometimes not the uphills that hurt, believe it or not it's the downhills! The worst after-race pain I've ever had is when I drew a downhill leg on a running relay that lost over a 1000 feet of elevation in a couple of miles. I could barely walk for a day or two afterwards.

Many athletes train using hill repeats, but when they do they run up the hill but walk back down. Downhill running uses different muscles than either flat or uphill running, and those muscles need training too. So if you're training for a hilly course, don't forget to run down hill!

As a side note, a couple of years ago we biked through Umbria and Tuscany in Italy with the kids. One of the things we loved were these signs "warning" us of hills ahead. As you can see, the signs were usually not necessary (could you actually miss the fact that there's a hill looming ahead of you?). We called these signs "boobs ahead" just because of the image on the sign and the kids got a kick out of spotting them. Since pretty much all of Tuscany is hilly, we saw them frequently (and grew to fear them at times when we were getting tired!)

Yesterday I ran almost 3 hours of hilly trails around town (our area resembles Tuscany in more ways than one - lots of hills, lots of wineries, ah if we only had more gelato) and am happy to report that I'm barely sore at all this morning. Hooray for hill training!

1 comment:

Marv said...

Downhills - I ran the St George Marathon back when, and it was all downhill. They bused us up the mountain and we ran down to St George. I went with a bunch of my running buddies and when we got off the plane on the way home, our quads were sore, we were all moaning and walking funny.