It’s back to the hills for me! I have loved running hills since I quit my double stroller. When you’re used to pushing a huge load around town that sometimes talks back, cries and screams, throws things at you, and even attempts to jump ship occasionally, plain old running can seem kind of…bland. Enter the hills. All the pain of pushing a stroller without everything else.
We have several longish, challenging hills in my area and I seem to live at the bottom of most of them (in a ditch, perhaps), which lead me to discover one of my favorite kinds of running workouts. The anti-procrastinator’s favorite kind of workout, the “climb and fly”. With these kind of runs, I do some serious (in my opinion) uphills with no down for the first 2 miles, followed by a flat 2-4 miles, and finish off with 1-2 miles of downhill. The relief of finishing the hard part of the run after just 2-3 miles makes me feel like I’m literally flying through the rest of it. Just as a reference (and for my own curiosity), I looked up the elevation change. The above photo is pathetic I realize and doesn’t do the experience a speck of justice. I never stop running to take pictures. Should I start?
In the first uphill miles I am gaining roughly 320-350 ft depending on the route (with 300ish of that gain in the second mile), staying at that elevation for the middle miles and then descending in the last 1-2 depending on my route. I don’t have a great frame of reference for how these hills compare to those in other areas, but it always feels challenging enough, not exhausting, and I can keep a decent pace on the uphills. This morning felt especially nice with a little light rain and the temperature in the mid-upper 50s. I love sweating in the rain. I did a total of 7.38 miles average pace 8:33/mile.
About a year and a half ago I was doing these kinds of runs 4 days a week because I loved them so much, but I found that my legs rebelled against both the up and down parts. My knees would ache, I would feel twinges in tendons in my lower legs too often and eventually linked these pains to running too many hills. Having just recovered from Posterior Tibial Tendonitis (inner left ankle) I had cut my hill runs to once a week and then once every other week while I increased miles training for Boston. I just wanted to avoid reinjury at all costs. But now that the marathon is over and my ankle feels fabulous, I am going to start doing my beloved climb and fly workouts once a week as well as incorporate 1 hill repeat workout into my training. I have never done hill repeats out of boredom and rebelling against “workouts”, but I am willing to try it to address my goal to increase strength and speed this spring/summer.
When I came home I was starving so I made and ate this breakfast:
And now 3 must-know paleo truths!
1. Paleo eating is veggie based, NOT meat based. Although most people will increase their intake of animal based protein when beginning a paleo style of eating, it is not meant to be “meat heavy” or even “low carb” like the rumors say. By including a variety of fresh veggies and fruits, lots of starchier root veggies as well as dried and fresh fruit, you will find yourself eating a ton of plants and also probably more meat than you’re used to, but meat will not be the main part of your diet. Healthy fats like ghee, coconut oil, olive oil and avocado oil will also contribute a large role to your daily eats.
2. Paleo eating forces you to ditch junk and eat real stuff. Ever look at the ingredients in a yogurt or box of cereal? Or an “energy” bar? Well, if you haven’t recently, I can tell you there are a lot of them to read. Yes some people like to create paleo baked goods (although even these wind up with way less ingredients in them than an oreo), but when you start out and just stick to basics, you’ll find yourself eating things most of the day that don’t have nutrition labels, which in my book makes them the most nutritious foods of all.
3. Paleo eating eliminates numbers from your life. Well, maybe not your whole life, but at least the eating part. When you eat food that makes you healthier your weight will balance out (gain or lose depending on what it needs to do) and you’ll feel good the way you are. And since you’re no longer eating things with labels you won’t be tempted to look at calories, fat, protein or any other numbers. No need to weigh yourself or anything else!
Any experiences or questions about a paleo way of eating for athletes? Also, what are your feelings about hill workouts and have they been a staple in your training?