Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hill work, beyond the dreadmill

Never been a big fan of hill work, but if I am going to tackle Boston in 2011, I would be a fool to not incorporate some during training. At present, I am working on my base, trying to keep up a solid ~30 miles a week and mix in a variety of styles and workouts to keep it fresh and get used to training beyond slogging away at the pavement, ie: Fartleks, barefoot/minimal, and hills.

Now, most of the "hill" training I've done has been on the dreadmill. That is partially because the act of changing speeds and grades has helped to minimize the monotony of indoor running. Also, it can be hard in Florida to find decent hills to run. A recent trick I learned from Andy, Florida Ultrarunner of the Year (over at is to try bridges, since Florida seems to have more of those than hills. That said, Gainesville has few of either. Now, there is the "bacon strip", as described in  "Once a Runner" set in the fictional town of Kernsville (Gainesville), but that stretch is out several miles from campus and I am usually on a tight schedule. But then I remembered "cardiac hill" over by Shands. Silly of me to forget, of course, since I went to college here and presently work at Shands, but anyway.

The hill is located near the eastern edge of the medical campus and runs from the MacKnight Brain Research Institute, north up to Museum Drive which is sort of the southern border of the 'main' part of UF's campus. It is steep enough that bicyclists easily break the 20 mph campus speed limit coming down, but few are energetic enough to ride up it between classes. The other day I decided to run from my car (a half mile warm up) to the hill and then run repeats until I got to about 4 miles of distance and call it a day. There is a flat area of road at the base of the hill which makes a suitable area to turn around and get ready for the next repeat. In total, the distance for each repeat is about 0.4 miles, with the hill proper being 0.11 miles or 580 feet. I have used a couple of different website to find the elevation necessary to calculate the grade of the hill. My standby is, but periodically, the elevation charting is broken. After a little google search, I found that the USATF  site also has an elevation chart, but it is not as robust a mapping system as mapmyrun. That site say that "cardiac hill" rises 41 feet over 0.11 miles. So, percent grade equals rise over run x 100. 41 / 580 * 100 = 7.06% grade. Going back to my post about hills in Tallahassee, It would appear that this hill is not as long, but steeper than the infamous hills of Newton. Hopefully this should suffice to strengthen the quads and hammys for Boston!

No comments:

Post a Comment