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Improving on the Hills – Ben Greenfield’s Advice

First and foremost, HAPPY FRIDAY! Today is my last Friday before the students come back to school.  By 4:00 pm today, I finally felt like I was ready for 96 smiling faces Monday morning. And as with most Fridays, I spent the afternoon thinking about my run for the weekend.  I have 15 miles scheduled and to be quite honset, I’m not sure if I’m going to do it.  My peroneal tendon has been bothering me, and I don’t know if it’s worth risking an injury.  But in my perfect world where I do run tomorrow, I have to make the decision where to go – a nice flat trail to get in the distance & maybe some tempo miles or the hills of downtown Raleigh, which are also the hills of my race in November. Decisions, decisions.

I think a lot about the hills in the City of Oaks Marathon.  Mainly because I remember how painful they were when I did the race a few years ago.  In addition to visualizing me attacking the hills and hill repeats, I’m still constantly searching for other suggestions. This afternoon I was reading the transcript from one of Ben Greenfield’s podcasts and as luck would have, he shares three of his recommendations for dealing with the hills.  Behold, new advice…. I can’t wait to try suggestions #3.

His first recommendation is plyometrics – single leg jumps, stepping off a platform & then explosively jumping up again, and counter jumps where you are dipping down and jumping up again.  Lucky for me, I LOVE jumps like this and do them quite a bit.  I’ll just need to incorporate more platforms starting next week.  His second recommendation is strength training and in particular single leg squats, lunges, reverse lunges, deadlifts, and squats.  Recently, I’ve been aiming to do single leg squats twice a week at the gym.  I also do almost twice as many on my right leg since it’s actually 3/4″ smaller than my left.  Definitely a muscle imbalance going on there. Ben Greenfield’s last recommendation is Lydiard hill drills.  Here is a description of the work out.  Basically, instead of continually sprinting up the hill and jogging back down, you bound up the hill, not focusing on speed but instead on relaxation and springing off the ball of your foot. Then you jog back down and down and do a hard effort sprint 4-5 times (50-200 meters). There is a great hill that is also part of the marathon course where I love to do my hill repeats.  If I am going to do my bounding/sprinting, I think I’ll make sure it’s early in the morning. It is a pretty busy street here in Raleigh.

On a side note, my meditation is going quite well. I found a great podcast this morning to lead me through my meditations.  It definitely helps to have someone talk me through the process instead of me trying to do it on my own. It is making me much more aware and now I have to ride to work in silence. The radio really bothers me and I prefer to be in my own thoughts. It’s crazy what can happen in only 5 short days.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and runs lots of happy miles.

Sending many happy running thoughts your way,


Luckily, these are NOT the hills I have to run 🙂
Photo Source: Alex Bibins, Wikimedia Commons

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Our run coach has always said that we should just “bounce” up the hills. This is not *strictly* on the ball of your foot, but it does feel like this. The first few times I did this my calves really felt it, but I adjusted. Now I find I actually do run differently when I go up hills. It’s less “muscling” up hills and arm action, but more of a gradual spring where you actually use less energy to go up. And that translates to more energy for your running. 🙂
    Have fun with the hills (and back to school). Let me know how this works for you.

    August 24, 2012

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