Friday, April 1, 2011

Good and hilly

I've noticed that whenever I do speed work, it seems to really wreak havoc on my legs, especially around my hips. I'm pretty sure this is related to the IT band issue I've been dealing with for some time now: The added stress of the fast runs aggravates the injury.

So this week, I've cut out all my speed work. On Tuesday I was supposed to run 5X600 intervals; I did a tempo run instead. Yesterday and today I was supposed to do easy 5 and 8 milers, ending with 100-meter strides, and I didn't do that either. But I didn't want to completely wimp out, so today I challenged myself to run my hilly route at a relatively fast pace: sub-8-minute miles. It's a 9-mile route, with little respite from hills throughout, a cumulative total of nearly 700 vertical feet. Here's the elevation profile:

I also decided to try a new bit of equipment, some KT tape. I didn't do as thorough a job as in this video, though:

I just used a half-piece of tape on each hip. I do think it might have actually helped a little bit.

I wanted to give myself a bit of a chance to warm up before I went all-out, so I ran Mile 1 in 8:52. I gradually built up speed so I'd hit the start of Mile 2 at an 8-minute pace (7:59 as it turned out). Mile 3 was where the big hills started. In fact, this mile was a solid 162-foot climb: 7:57 (!). Then I headed downhill, trying to build up even more speed, 7:36. This course is like a lollipop, but I go around the top twice, so Mile 5 was once again a solid uphill, a 135-foot climb that I finished in 8:14. I was tiring, so I didn't hit the downslope of Mile 6 quite as fast: 7:50. Finally, Mile 7 completed the second loop of the lollipop and headed back towards home: 108 feet up, 92 feet down, 8:07.

I think I'm most proud today of my performance on Mile 8, which includes the notorious Grey Road climb back into Davidson. This is a hill that starts out fairly steep, but then just keeps on going at a reduced pitch before finally cresting after a hundred foot climb in a little over a half a mile. I finished the mile in 7:59. Mile 9 was no slouch either, starting off downhill but ending in an 82-foot climb that feels bigger: 7:46.

My overall pace for the run was 8:03, but that includes the warmup mile. Remove that, and I averaged 7:57. I decided to cool down for a half-mile or so and then headed home. Not bad for a Friday morning!

Details of the run are below:

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