The Buckle is Just a Bonus

There are as many reasons to run ultras as there are ultra runners. But I doubt anyone does it just for the buckles. Yeah, they’re pretty cool. Some people may even display them. Many marathon runners display their metals. All of my buckles are in a wooden box and my metals are in a sturdy plastic container. Both are on the top shelf of my closet.

For me, the metal or the buckle is just a bonus. I run ultradistance for the challenge, the community, the chance to be in my mountains, the freedom, to breath and to live. I love ultrarunning for the experiences, thoughts, insight, ideas, soul searching, and the understanding. I love the questioning, self doubt, fear, disappointment and failures.

I love it all in the end, but I may hate it in the moment. Ultrarunning takes a deep love and some serious determination. It is not for every runner. It is for the growing few.

I have found myself deep in the pain cave staring at my feet as I drag them along the trail only to glance up and meet the eyes of a serene doe watching from back in the trees, ears forward facing, just watching and that is enough for me. That one momentary connection with another soul, another heart that loves the mountains, the crisp pine and sage scented morning air, and the strange blue yellow light of the early clean dawn.

Training Partners

I’ve written about training partners in the past, but feel it is a good time to do so again. As the scientist are learning more and more about the Covid-19 virus and how it spreads, in addition to the vaccine being available to everyone over the age of 16, the time has come to start venturing out of our homes and associating with others again. Although for many, including myself, this will cause some anxiety and there will be hesitation in expanding one’s social circle.

My understanding of the CDC guidelines is that people who are vaccinated can gather in small groups without masks when outdoors. This means getting back in touch with our running groups and partners. Running with others can add a level of enjoyment and challenge to your running. You don’t always have to run with others, in fact, I recommend you spend some time, even some long runs, without anyone else.

If you are going to run with others, how do you make sure it is a healthy and supportive running relationship? For me the most important thing is supportive rather than competitive. Sure there can be some competition but it should never cross the line to the point that you would sacrifice the friendship or make someone feel less than good enough. I feel like the ultrarunning community and trail runners more generally tend to be more supportive. Not less competitive. It goes back to the supportive piece is the most important.

The second thing when running with a group or another person on a consistent basis, is to set the ground rules from the beginning. What happens during races? What happens when someone is injured? What happens when someone isn’t up to the scheduled workout for the day?

My rule about training and racing is train together don’t race together. This doesn’t mean you can’t run side by side or support each other or even hang back a bit for your training partner at times. It means you have to know when to run your own race and not try to keep pace with someone who is having an amazing day if you’re not and it means you have to let them go when you can’t keep up. Every race is different. You learn this the hard way when you’ve run 3 or 4 100s. You can have amazing training results and then fall flat or worse on race day for some unknown reason. If this happens you need to either let your partner go ahead and tell them to do so and if you are the one having a great day, give your slower friend a high five and tell them you will see them at the finish line no matter how long it takes them.

What if one of you gets injured during a race? Don’t drop out because your friend is unless you need to in order to assist your friend in getting medical care right away. During training, don’t skip training because your friend can’t go and the injured friend needs to encourage the other person to get out there and keep with the program. This can be hard if you are injured, especially when it is something that is going to keep you out for longer than a few days. It is easy to just not want to be around others who are finding joy and success in something that you can’t do and was (is) a big part of your life. At times like these it is important to remember you’re still a runner. You’re just an injured runner healing so you can come back stronger. There have been some amazing runners who have been out for a month or more due to injury who come back late in the season stronger than ever.

What happens if your partner isn’t up for the scheduled workout? it won’t hurt you to take an extra easy day. It will likely be good for you. Just don’t make it a routine. Try going to a track where you can do your speed work while your partner goes at a slower pace. You can chat on your recovery laps, your warm up and your cool down. You can also go to the gym and run side by side on treadmills set at different paces. There are options and it’s okay to stick with your friend at times. It becomes a problem if you are missing critical workouts on a routine basis.

Should you choose a partner who is faster or slower than you? Ideally you will find someone who is close to the same fitness level as you, but if you don’t, you can do easy or hard workouts together and then the opposite on your own. Don’t forget I said running alone is necessary as an ultrarunner.

As great as training partners are, running alone is a critical skill for an ultrarunner. One hundred miles is a long way, and one hundred mile events don’t typically have more than a few hundred runners. This means you are going to be alone. You could be alone for hours at a time. You need to be okay spending time in your own head and dealing with the mental challenges that come with ultrarunning when you are on your own. You have to master the mental game, which is a topic for another time (or you can look back on previous posts).

Happy and healthy running.

Recover and Rebuild

So many runners have an issue with taking “rest” days. I know I do. The purpose for taking rest days is to recover and rebuild your muscles so they are stronger and can withstand more rigorous training. It allows you to build your miles and increase your speed. It is the foundation to making running a life long sport and not just an “in the good old days” sport or “when I was younger…”

My goal is to run a 100 on my 100th birthday. Maybe it will happen maybe it won’t. One thing is for sure, I will be slower and I will need a full time pacer and crew. Something I have had to reconcile is this whole concept of rest. I have read books on rest and why it is important. I’ve heard pod cast after podcast and seen many videos and articles on rest.

Even with this information being spewed at runners from every media source available, we struggle. We fight taking rest days. We push through injuries and then our bodies make us stop. Doesn’t it make more sense to just take a day off here and there or to take a week of reduced miles every so often? yes but we’re ultrarunners and nothing in rest says ultra anything. Ultrarest? hmmmm questionable.

I’ve gotten better about taking rest. Some of that is from listening to Coaches David and Megan Roche from Some Work, All Play Running. Coach David Roche often says, taking three days off when you start to feel an issue is not going to hurt your training but it may save you from having a serious injury which can sideline you for a month or more. I’m paraphrasing and saying like I remember it, but it’s pretty much what he said.

I’ve tried to implement this in my running over the last six months and I believe it has prevented little issues from becoming big issues. So I would recommend this thinking to all other runners.

My other recommendation when it comes to “rest” days, is to not think about them as taking the day off or “resting” at all. Think of them as Rebuild days or Recovery days, which every you like. You can even double them up into Recovery and rebuild days.

Sometimes just a change in the language we use can totally change the way we view an idea or training concept. Do I always take a Rebuild day or week? Let’s just say it’s a work in progress.

Happy Healthy Running.

Planning and Running a Solo 100

So the pandemic got you down? or you just want a new adventure? plan your own 100 mile event. Plan it as a solo run or go out with some friends. Where do you begin? at the beginning, what route to take. Some of these things are things you have to do in every 100. Some are things particular to a solo/self planned 100.

The first thing you want to do when planning a solo 100 is to choose your route. Things to keep in mind when choosing your route: (1) crew access or places you can stash needed items, think aid stations, (2) how much elevation do you want? (3) is the route fully exposed or covered? (4) how long will it take you to finish this run?

You are most likely going to need to resupply, unless you want to carry a huge amount of stuff from the beginning weighing you down, and likely slowing you down. You can’t possibly carry enough water for the entire run. You can stash items along the route, if you have animal proof containers. You’ll have to get it to the location a day or two before. Think nonperishables. As for water, you can carry a filter and plan your route where there are lakes, rivers, or springs to refill. For me, I just ask my husband and adult children to meet me along the way with things I will need. The aid stations need to be accessible by car or hiking while carrying everything you will be needing. In planning aid stations, keep in mind how long it will take you to get from one place to the next. If there is a lot of elevation, it’s going to take more time. If it’s 10 miles between each stop, you will need less stuff each time compared to 20 miles between refills.

I have found it is easiest to just pack drop bags, write the “aid station” on some tape and stick it to the bag. I load them all in the car the night before so no one else has to figure out what needs to be taken to which spot. It’s all just there. As for food, pack a cooler the night before and load it into the car. Have a open box with other food items that can be easily accessed to refill.

Plan to use food that you can usually tolerate throughout a 100. You will likely have fewer options at each stop, so make sure there are things you can use on a regular basis and don’t get sick of. Have other supplies packed the night before as well, such as a blister kit, a bag with supplies to treat stomach issues or other chronic issues that may crop up during the run.

Give your crew a list of the aid stations that has the location, miles of your run, the earliest time you could arrive and then the latest time you could arrive. You don’t want to wait and you need them to resupply. At a 100 mile event, you can fill up with the aid station fare even if your crew misses you, in most cases, and just push on to the next meeting point.

People involved: (1) Will you have a crew? (2) If so, who is going to crew?, (3) who can be cheer leaders, (4) who can pace? If you are not going to have a crew, you should still prepare a chart of where you expect to be at certain times and give that to someone, or a couple of people. In the event you need to be found, or you don’t arrive at the finish when expected, they will have an idea of where and when you should have been.

Choose people who have crewed before if you can. Crewing for a 100 can be a bit of a challenge the first few times. Crewing a solo is more challenging, because you are all that your runner has. You are their motivation when it wanes. You are their doctor when their body is rebelling. You are the force feeder when they are not eating or drinking enough. You are the problem solver when shit comes up, and it will. Meet with your crew before the run and go over the plan, what you may need, and how to handle the unexpected.

Because you don’t have the excitement of running with a bunch of other people or the indirect support of all those who are out there suffering along side you, it is useful to have Cheer Leaders. People who come out just to tell you that you are doing a good job, to keep going, that you look good. You can also have your phone and just phone a friend when you need to. Another option is to put motivational quotes or letters from family/friends in your drop bags. Practice using a mantra.

Pacing, this is about the same as in any 100 event. Find someone who is entertaining to run along side you, to keep you on pace, to keep you on your route, and to keep you safe when you are tired. This person should probably know the route incase you are unable to navigate for some reason. Depending on the route you choose, they may not have route markings/flags to rely on. You can also use virtual pacers, if you have cell service along the route. You can call these people at all hours of the night, for someone to talk with or they can just talk with you as you run.

Supplies: (1) what is the temperature? (3) what is the weather likely to be? (3) what food will you need? (4) water or other liquids (5) blister kit (6) medical kit

Temperature impacts a lot of things during a 100. It changes what you wear, how much water and electrolytes you need, and how much food and what types of food you can tolerate. Pack your bags accordingly and have a few things to cover the spectrum of possibilities. Weather and temperature are often linked but not always. It can be rainy and hot. It can be sunny and cold. This changes what you will bring.

I mentioned a blister kit before, but am listing it again here. You have to be able to take care of your feet because no one is going to do it for you. The medical kit may contain medication for stomach issues, GI track problems, pain relievers, icy hot, athletic tape or kensieo tape, a knee or ankle brace.

Other things to consider: (1) when are you going to start your run? (2) where will you be at certain times during the day? (3) How can you motivate yourself without the excitement of the race and cut off times? (4) how to stop yourself from getting in the car.

When you start your run dictates when you will finish and what time you will be at various places. You may want to change your start time so you are able to reach certain locations at certain times of the day. Perhaps there is a narrow trail with a cliff on one side, or a technical descent and you may not want to do those at 2 or 3 in the morning when you are the most tired. Change your start time so you are unlikely to hit those points, if you can’t and still want to take the route, make sure you have a pacer.

Motivation to push hard when there is no finish line and no one to chase makes running a solo 100 an extra special challenge. Your crew can help you here and so can those cheer leaders I spoke about. Having a reason why you are doing it and a mantra can be enough to get you through. Remember that during any 100 there are good times and bad times. The bad times are always followed by good times. It will get easier and good again, you just have to keep going to get there.

It is easier to drop out of a solo 100 than a race. You need to have a crew that will push you out there more than normal. You need to give them specifics about what to do in various situations that may come up. Are there questions to ask to help you realize you’re fine to continue such as Have you worked through similar feelings in a race? Can you take a few minutes extra at a stop to recuperate? Can they meet you at the next stop with something extra special? Can they meet you an extra time at an unofficial cheering station?

Running a solo 100 is hard work. Let me know what you have done to make yours successful.

Happy and healthy running.

Consistency is Essential to Improvement

If ever I give advice to a person who wishes to improve their running or is just getting started the first thing is consistency. You have to be consistent in order to build a base, get stronger, become faster, and adapt to your training.

If you are not consistent, your body just doesn’t adjust and get stronger. Consistent doesn’t mean doing the same thing week in and week out. consistency means you are running on a regular basis multiple times a week. It’s getting out there when you don’t have the motivation to tie your shoes.

Running between four and six days a week is ideal for most runners. This gives you a rest day each week which reduces your chances of injury and gives your body total day to recover and rebuild. Tie those two words together, recover and rebuild, it makes taking a rest day much easier.

If you are constantly jumping around doing a run whenever you feel like it or going from running six days one week to two days the next, this isn’t going to help you reach goals. Sure you’ll be able to run a 5k without having to walk a bunch, but if you want to improve your time at a 5k or you want to run farther than a 5k, you must be consistent.

What happens if you’re not consistent? you get injured. You have to take time off to heal. Then you have to start over. That’s hard. It makes you not want to run anymore. Starting over Sucks.

If you don’t get injured, you are not going to improve. The older you get, the more true this becomes. Getting faster means you have to push yourself on a consistent basis, usually once or twice a week. You run speed drills and hill repeats. To go longer, you increase your miles in increments until you are able to run the distance you want.

Day by day, week by week, and month by month you get faster and your endurance, muscular and aerobic, improves. You are able to reach your goals and challenge yourself to new goals, a new distance or a faster time.

You’re going to have hard days. You’re going to have days you don’t want to get out and put in your miles. Is it okay to take an extra rest day when you’re tired and another aspect of your life has you stressed or overwhelmed? sure, just don’t make that a consistent practice.

Run consistently and you will improve. I promise.

Happy healthy running!!

Evolution of Training

How long have you been running? well since I learned how. No, for real. I think it all really started full force for me back in 2006 or 2007. That’s when I first started running on a consistent basis and it hasn’t stopped since then. It has only grown into the monstrosity it is now (aka 20 ish hours a week). I didn’t run my first race until 2008 and it was a half marathon.

Over the years my training has evolved not only because of the increase in distance but also the increase in knowledge, my goals, and my life circumstances. Your training has to change with you or you will not be running for long. You have to change things up to make your body adapt to new stimulus and thereby get stronger, but that’s not the evolution I’m talking about, that one is more like training blocks.

My love for running has never changed and has never decreased. My motivation has at times been questionable but never to the point where I couldn’t get my butt out the door. I’m blessed (or cursed) in that way. Research is an ongoing influence on my training and on my advice to other runners. I am always trying to learn new training strategies and techniques. I listen to other coaches and to the researchers themselves about what has been discovered and it’s applicability to training and to the average runner.

It’s important to change things up and evolve as new information becomes available. It is also important for your training to evolve as your life changes and as your goals change. You may need to add strength training as you get older and/or as your distance increases. You may need to add cross training as you get older or because you are a more injury prone runner. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a runner lets you modify your training and evolve as a runner. You become better, whatever that means to you.

Don’t be afraid to try new training ideas. The worst that can happen is you go back to what you were doing before. Okay you could get injured, but as long as you are introducing a new stimulus slowly and you are getting enough rest this shouldn’t happen.

Be brave go outside your comfort zone. Evolve your running become more.

What have you recently changed about your running?

Base Miles

As the race season really gets swinging, runners begin to ramp up their miles from their base winter miles. Not all runners only maintain a base through winter months. Some continue to build and others continue to race throughout the winter. It depends on the weather and the particular runner. Through the winter or off season, it is good to maintain a base so when race season starts you are ready to begin ramping up to race training without injury and without a lot of work to do.

How many miles should you maintain throughout the winter or off season? it really depends on how much early season work you want to do, how your prior race season went, and what the conditions you will be running in are.

The goal of an off season is to recover and maintain enough that you don’t have to start over. The lower your miles through the off season the more work you will have to do to get ready for race season. The less intensity work you do the more you will have to put in in the preseason. The first priority of the off season is to recover of course.

You don’t want to cause additional injuries during your off season so lowering the intensity and just maintaining a comfortable amount of miles is a good strategy. It can be a time where you switch your focus to strength and balance training as well as you remove the running stress and the amount of time dedicated to putting in miles.

Your base miles should still include some intensity because you don’t want to regress too much but a few bursts of speed for 30 to 60 seconds during a run once a week is enough during this time. If you end your season with an injury, you may want to significantly reduce your miles or cross train for a week or two before implementing your base mile maintenance plan. This is also a great time to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of injury during race season by increasing your strength in your core and lower legs/ankles. If you have a persistent niggle, figure out ways to resolve it or reduce it and strategies you can use during race season.

The weather may be severe enough to reduce your miles as well. Very cold temperatures, closure of trials, and deep snow can make longer runs more challenging if not dangerous. You may have to turn to running on a treadmill or the roads through the winter. The harder surface may lead to a reduction in miles to reduce injury or at a minimum purchasing different shoes.

Where I am located, more mountain lions come down to the lower trails in the winter to find food. This in combination with me running in the early morning alone, pushes me to the roads for a few months. When mountain lion meals are found within a half mile of your house and sightings are all along the trials you run, it’s best to change your behavior because the lions are not changing theirs.

The amount of miles should be something you are comfortable with and doesn’t wear you down. This may be 60% of what you do during race season or it may be 70%. It can and should bounce up and down a bit but never to the high of race training. Doing one week with low miles and the next week with a bit higher miles can add variety and gives you a bit more time to spend with family and friends who get neglected during race season.

My base miles typically consist of two eight mile runs during the week and then 10 to 15 miles both Saturday and Sunday. During race season, my midweek runs go up to 10-12 miles, I add a speed session on Wednesdays and my weekends increase to 15-25 miles both days.

What do you do for base miles and what impacts your decision on how much to do?

Happy and Healthy Running!

This Year’s Races

I am hopeful that we will be able to return to a more normal race calendar by this fall. Not only because I have races then but because getting at least one part of my life back to pre-covid-19 days would be nice. I’m only registered for two events this year because of the pandemic. I really wanted to run a couple of others earlier in the year but being one of the last on the list for vaccines, it just wasn’t going to happen.

First Bear 100 finisher’s metal September 2015.

The new CDC guidelines are encouraging for racing especially for those who are fully vaccinated. Being able to run a race without a mask would get me on the vaccine train if I wasn’t already fully onboard. The longer the vaccines are out and research is continued, I hope more people will get vaccinated. The more who are vaccinated, the closer we get to the critical 80% needed for “herd immunity” and once that is reached, everyone can get back to life more normally, including our youngsters who can’t get vaccinated yet.

I’m registered to run two races. Squamish 50/50 in August and Bear 100 in September. I was registered for both races in 2020 but Squamish was cancelled and I wasn’t comfortable running Bear with the Covid numbers for Utah and Idaho.

Squamish 50/50, for those who are not familiar with this event, is a fifty mile run on Saturday followed by a 50k run on Sunday. So just your run of the mill back to back right? I don’t think so. The terrain makes these back to backs very challenging. Plus there are not many who are doing such high volume for back to backs. I will admit that I have done 40/30s as back to backs in the past, before my daughter was born, but I haven’t been able to get those numbers in since then. I regularly run back to back 20/15 and some times 20/18s but that’s about my max at this point. Even with the lower mileage, I will be ready for Squamish.

Bear 100. I love Bear 100. It is my all time favorite race. You never know what you are going to get, well I guess you know you are in for a day-night-day to remember for the rest of your life. It can range between late summer heat to a full on winter storm. Weather in the Utah mountains (Spring and Fall in Utah in general really) is unpredictable and swings wildly every few days.

I have registered for Bear 100 for the past two years and haven’t been able to run it. The first year was because my daughter just wasn’t ready for me to be gone all day, all night, and possibly into the next day. Then Covid. My fingers are crossed that Utah will step up its game in vaccines and continue with social distancing so it is safe for all to come and run the race without having to worry about themselves or their crew/cheering squad being exposed to the virus or one of its variants.

Happy Healthy Running

Perceived Effort

Perceived effort is a scale of 1 to 10 used to determine how much effort you personally are putting into a run. This means you’re not running to meet a specific time goal such as a 8 minute mile or completing 10 miles in 90 minutes. Perceived effort means how much effort you feel you are putting into a particular run. What each point on the scale means is different for every person and for each run.

If you have a hard workout, your perceived effort will reflect that in the next days run because a pace that is easy for you will be more challenging to maintain. This is normal and in fact if it’s now happening you are either exceptional at recovery or you are not pushing yourself hard enough in your hard workouts.

Why do we use perceived effort to measure how difficult a run is or how hard we should be pushing on a particular day? it is more personal and therefore more effective for you as an individual runner. If you are working with a training program you pulled off the internet, it doesn’t account for you as an individual. It is made to work for a range of people. Perceived effort let’s you adjust on the move and from day to day.

If a workout is supposed to be hard, you know what hard feels like on that day and you can push yourself to that level. Hard workouts should be competed at a 7 or 8 on the perceived effort scale. There are few times you want to push all the way to 9 or 10, maybe the last quarter mile of a run or a race. Easy runs should be completed at a 3 or 4. Tempo runs should be done at a 5 or 6, hard but maintainable for 6 to 8 miles.

Running based on perceived effort helps you ensure that your training is going to have the intended impact. If you are always running at a high level, you don’t let your body recover. No recovery means no progress.

Is running by time rather than perceived effort useful? yes, in small doses. It is a good way to see how you are progressing in your training. Mostly running by time should reserved for races.

Getting Faster

Over the years my use of and encouragement to other runners about speedwork has evolved. This happens with any runner and coach. If it doesn’t, you don’t get better. You stagnate. I’m sure a lot of my original strategies to up my game and that of others has evolved, perhaps I’ll write a post about it.

Early in my training, way back when I first began, speed work was something I did every week. I went to the track and busted out some 800s, or a ladder, or a pyramid, or 400s. I had a whole list of the sessions I loved to do and the ones I loved to hate. As my distance increased from marathon to 50 to 100 miles, the speed work dropped off and only appeared every once in a while for a few months and then I was done with it.

My justification for not doing speed work was that as an ultradistance runner I didn’t need to be super fast. I needed to be able to maintain a steady pace for a really long ways and to manage any discomfort and other issues that came along the way to maintain that pace. I’ve also used other types of things to increase my leg turn over rather than speed work, such as cycling.

Why? Speedwork is hard. It is easier when you have a running partner or a coach to crack the whip and hold you accountable for your training. It is rather difficult to find a training partner who wants to go out at 5 am, especially in the winter.

If you have hit a plateau in your training or you want to get faster, you need to do speedwork. You don’t need to do it every day. You don’t need to throw up by the end of the session. You do need to work harder than you would during an easy run, a lot harder.

For speed work to really have the desired impact you also have to make your easy runs easy. This can be more challenging than it sounds. Run easy? no problem. Running easy is hard because it really means easy. It means go at the pace your body needs in order for it to be easy on that day. It means being able to hold a conversation, mostly, with someone running next to you. On a perceived effort scale, it should not go over a 3 or 4, 1 being a walking pace. If your fast is a 9 minute mile, your easy may be a 12 or 13 minute mile. If your fast is a 6 minute mile, your easy may be a 8 or 9 minute mile. It will likely change throughout the week and training cycle. As your fast increases, your easy will likely increase as well. All of this is why the perceived effort scale is needed. I’ll probably write a post about that too.

Having the speed work without the easy runs, is going to decrease your chances of increasing your speed. If you are always pushing your body to it’s max, it doesn’t have a chance to recover, rebuild and get stronger (faster).

How often speed work is done, depends on the runner and their goals. If you don’t care if you get faster, just throw in some speed play or fartleks on a couple of your runs during the week. It gives you some variation and also decreases the chance of you getting slower. For those who would like to increase their speed, you will do speed work one time a week and for a few you can get away with twice a week (if you are running six days a week).

If you’re newer to running or are increasing distance at the same time as getting faster, once a week is enough and may be too much. If you are feeling extra tired, reduce it to once every 10 days. If you are an older runner (over 50) and haven’t consistently done speedwork, you may want to start with once every 10 days and then see how it feels. If you are an injury prone runner or have hamstring issues, you will want to start cautious and also at 10 days.

For new runners, please don’t go out and do an hour of speed work. Just like with distance, you need to start small and work your way up. Start with 30 minutes, do a warm up of ten minutes, run 4 or 5 800s with a quarter mile recovery between and then cool down for 10 minutes. Alternate this with a ladder. Warm up for 10 minutes, run a fast quarter mile, recover for a quarter mile, run a fast 800, recover for a quarter mile, run a fast one mile, recover for a quarter mile up to a mile and a half and then cool down for 10 minutes. If you can’t get through the whole ladder, do what you can.

For older runners just starting speed work, the warm up is more critical than for the new runner. You may need longer than the ten minutes to warm up. You likely know your body well enough to feel the switch flip and you can run easier. If you are both older and new to running, get some base miles under your belt before adding in speed work. Just run consistently for two months. Consistently means 3 plus days a week.

For injury prone runners and some older runners, hill work is better than speed work and has basically the same effect. This also means that other runners can use hills to add variation to their speed work repertoire. Running fast is harder on your body and increases the chances of an injury especially a hamstring injury. Hamstrings are fickle and when they get injured, they take their sweet sweet time healing. Hill work means running up a hill and then recovering on the way back down. It doesn’t have to be a super steep grade. It needs to be a challenge for you to get to the top while still running. You can change things up by using different grades, lengths, and number of repeats. Frequency is the same with other speed work, once a week or every ten days. If you feel the tingle of an injury coming on, don’t do the speed/hill work and think about taking 1-3 days off of running.

This was a long one. Please ask questions, if you have any and Happy Running!