This morning’s Dopey Challenge training called for 5 miles at race pace. Every other Wednesday it calls for race pace, with just a normal slower run on alternating hump days. I’ve been taking these days to do Hill Repeats. I ended up doing probably 1.5 miles of repeats. If you’ve ever done them, you know they are hard. But you also know how strong of a runner they make you. Besides strength, they also make you a faster runner. And pretty much every race is going to have some sort of incline at some point – even the “flat” courses…I found this out the hard way a few months back.
I was running the Outer Banks, NC Flying Pirate Half Marathon. Since it was on an island at sea level, I assumed it’d be flat. Also, the course description on the web site said it was flat, but with one hill right before the finish. Like a fool, I believed them.
Yes, it was mostly flat. But there was one noticeable hill around mile 5 when we were running by the shoreline and had to take a left to enter a neighborhood. The shoreline was sea level, the neighborhood was not. We had to run up a hill to get there. But that was it until mile 10. Only one hill in the first 10 miles? I will take it!
But after mile 10, things changed. We left the paved path and entered an unpaved nature preserve. The last 3.1 miles were full of ups and downs…literally! I hadn’t done a stitch of hill work preparing for this race, and I paid for it. The PR I was on pace for tripped and went rolling down a hill.
I wrote all about it in my race recap HERE.
I won’t get into the details again in this post, as I just want mention it to make a point: Always do at least some hill work when preparing for a race! If you do, you’ll be prepared for any hills you face. Also, if you do luck out and your race is perfectly flat, then you’ll be stronger and faster for having done some hill work. Imagine how much easier a flat race is if you’d done some prep for it by running up and down inclines!
So yes, do go out there and make mountains out of molehills!