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The Beauty of the Unplanned Run

This AM I decided to run hills to work on strength in preparation for my upcoming marathon on September 28. I don’t follow a specific program so there is no calendar of what I’m “supposed” to run each day. A blog post on how I determine my training program will be featured soon, but its basically training at an aerobic rate all week long, with a speed/tempo workout and one long weekend run.

I decided to add hills for this time around to build some strength for the later miles that get tough. Hills should be run at an easy pace to focus on strength and not speed. It’s okay to run them for speed, but if you plan to do a speed workout the same week, then you should save your legs and use the hills as a strength workout. The idea is to stay at an aerobic pace and do close to a 45-60 minute workout. This can be simply running up and down a hill multiple times, planning a route with many long gradual or steep hills, or setting your treadmill to a 4-8% grade.

Today I met Lee at 5:45 for a “hill” run. We had no specific course or time planned. We met at the bottomed of a gradual hill that takes about 3 minutes to get to the top and did this twice. After that we decided to run approximately one mile away to an area where there is a longer and steeper hill. My initial thoughts were to run this several times but realized there were several other hills that followed this one on a five mile loop that could return us near our houses. We went for it. Lee had to be back at 6:50 and I was basically aiming for an hour or so. There were two more long gradual hills that followed. Each taking 5 minutes or more to climb. It was an outstanding hill experience.

Lee made it back at 6:49. My total time was 1:18 minutes for a little over 8 miles. Our average pace was 9:12.

An excellent run that was not penciled in or even planned the night before! I left the house knowing I wanted to do some hills, and hills we did.

Tomorrow? My one day of rest.

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