Incline training: Part 1 of 2

Part One:
“Hey, it’s nice out. We should go for a run by those hills…”

Are you a runner? I dabble in the running world sometimes, but I can’t say I enjoy it as much as the group fitness classes at my gym. Since the weather is perking up in Michigan, I’ve been logging a few outdoor runs lately.

Dave decided it would be fun (ha) to run a hilly 3-mile route by our apartment. Here’s how the route is set up: We run a mile and then come to a 14% grade hill that drops for about 100 feet. There’s a gradual incline for 50 feet before we head down another 14% grade hill for 100 feet and then we turn around and take the same route back home. Yes, Dave, this sounds like a fun run….

I figured the easy part would be running downhill but I quickly learned otherwise. My quads and calves were burning because I had to use those muscles to slow myself down. It was like running in a squat position the whole way down. Cardio-wise, I wasn’t breathing too hard so it was tolerable. I can’t say the same for the way back.

We reach the bottom of the hill and I make an excuse that I need to fix my hair so I get a chance to stop before we turn around and go back. We head up the first hill and my lungs are on FIRE. I probably jogged 2 mph during the break between the hills. I’m breathing too hard to say anything at this point, so I just keep trotting along. The last hill was a killer. Dave told me to just sprint it and get it over with since I’d be done faster than just jogging. Fine by me, I’ll sprint. I had to redefine sprinting on this hill…it felt like I was playing that inflatable bungee run game with the Velcro bean bags. I’m pretty vocal if I don’t like something, so I probably wasted a lot of energy yelling things like “I just want to walk” or “I hate running” or “You’re carrying me home when this hill is over.” I think it took me 20 seconds to cross a street after the hill was over and you bet I made a car wait at the stop sign while I did so.

Once that drama ended and we made it home, I said I didn’t want to do that again. That was Friday. We ran the same route Sunday and I did much better! I think it was a combination of knowing what I had coming and deciding not to yell any negative comments that helped me out. Even though it’s a killer workout, it’s also a quick workout and we were done in 30 minutes. I can deal with 30 minutes.

Now that you’ve heard my lovely experience with incline training, I’ll share part two tomorrow and explain some of the benefits and research behind incline training.

Have you tried incline training before?