hill work is making me stronger

I’ve kept my weekly mileage pretty steady, just north of 35 miles.  About four weeks back, I figured it was time to introduce some “quality workouts” into the week as well. 

The first time out, I simply did about five minute-long accelerations.  That felt okay.  Not great, just okay.  The following week, I tried some five minute-long speed intervals.  These felt pretty lousy.  The whole time I was running fast I felt I couldn’t get enough air, and my legs felt wobbly too.

Based on my weak response to speed intervals, I figured it was a good time to do hill repeats.  Hopefully these would build my strength, and give me a good basis for running faster.  The first time out, Ben and I managed four trips up a nice hill.  I briefly entertained the possibility of doing negative splits, but that went out the window after the second one.  After this, I felt so tired, the rest of the run was a real struggle.

Last week, I did five trips up a nice long stairwell.  Each trip was faster than the last, starting with about 1:35, going down to about 1:15.  This was more like it.  The rest of the run was sloooow, but finally I was feeling like I was getting a little stronger.  Then, this week I did three trips up a .45 mile hill.  Again, each faster than the previous.  By the third trip, I was wondering whether I was going to make it up at all.  And on the run back to work, I struggled to keep going.  Still, I felt pretty good when it was over.

I’ll take this as a good sign.  It will be some time before I can translate this into actual speed, but I felt good about my efforts, and great about the negative splitting.

Piece by piece, I’m getting back to where I was last June.  It won’t happen overnight, but if I keep plugging, I’ll get there.

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