Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Hilly 20K+ Run

This morning marked the first official long run for my 50K training. Nothing spectacular, 20K/12.5M, but rather than running it on the flat asphalt covered bike paths as was the case for my marathon training, I headed to the neighboring town of Weingarten and ran on the forested hillsides bordering this town.

It was raining and 10C/50F as I left the house about 7 a.m., it was 12K to the start of the trail that I wanted to run, so I decided to take the car rather than my scooter. As I parked the car in a small parking lot at the base of “the hill”, the rain was letting up. I warmed up a little with some callisthenic’s, grabbed my new CamelBak 3L Rim Runner and headed out. I almost immediately started climbing upwards, I chose the most gradual incline. I slowly wound my way up onto the top of the mountain and started running over the rolling hill paths. The most were forest paths or graveled logging trails.

After approx. a half hour I headed part way down the mountain, turned, and started walking back up again. I walked for maybe 3 minutes until I reached a trail that headed off to the right, then started running again. The path slowly wound it’s way up to the top again, this time from another direction. I reached the top and again took a different path leading off in another direction. This led me over a serious of rolling hills, curves and muddy logging paths. There was some climbing, but I felt good so kept running.

As I started approaching the end of the first hour I looked for a way down the mountain again so that I could climb back up with my next walk break. I managed to find a quite aggressive downhill trail that proved to be quite slippery due to all the rain we had through the night. I managed to reach the bottom without falling on my own, then walked up again. This time I needed about 4-5 minutes for the climb, it was steep and I pushed it, by the time I reached the top I was breathing heavy.

I ran again, continuing on down the path I had been following. There was a slight decline for a few minutes so I was able to catch my breath again. I ran about 25 minutes more, turning up and down various paths that I came across, basically just exploring the unfamiliar routes. Finally I ended up at the edge of the forest, staring at a field. I debated for a second whether to turn around, but eyed what looked light a path about 200 meters higher up through the woods. So I started running up through the trees, at least until I found myself surrounded by thorn bushes. I switched to a walk and wound my way up a steep slippery animal path, eventually breaking onto a muddy logging trail.

I picked up the pace again, as best I could anyway in the several inches of mud. After a few minutes I found another trail that was in better shape so took that. At this point I really wasn’t exactly sure where I was, but I have good sense of direction in the woods, and started heading back towards where I left my car.

I arrived at the car after running almost two hours, but decided to do another round up the steep hill where I ran last year. Normally this is a steep 7 minute climb up a winding asphalt road that leads to an old landfill. I ran about 3-4 minutes and noticed another trail that appeared to bear off to the left and go back down the mountain. Being the curious type (and winded by that time) I took the trail and about 8 minutes later found myself back at the bottom of the hill where I started. Cool, now I know where I can do my hill repeats! I decided to do another round, but this time walked up, which took just over 5 minutes. I than ran back down the mountain and decided that was enough for today.

All together I was on the way for 2 hours 16 minutes. I would guess I ran somewhere between 20-21 kilometers (approx. 13M). My average pace was much slower than my runs on the flatlands, but I really am not sure how much slower.

The approximate 3-5 minute walk break every 30 minutes felt about right. Of course I haven’t tried anything different yet, so have nothing to compare it too.

The top of the mountain (highest point in our area anyway) that I run up is approx. 180 meters (about 540 feet) higher than where I park my car. As I mentioned there is a forested plateau on top with lots of rolling hills. There are trails everywhere running up and down the mountain, I can utilize these to make my long runs as hard or easy as I like by using various combinations of these. As today was my first hill workout I took it a little easier until I see how my body reacts. It has been almost 6 months since I did any hill running.

In any case I am very satisfied with my first training on the hillier trails. Over the next 5-6 week I will increase the long runs by approx. 15 minutes each week, eventually running up to almost 4 hours.

Have a great weekend everyone!

I like that distance, nice workout!
sounds like you have some great terrain to train on!
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