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Monday, February 22, 2016

Marathon training summary: the hills

How do you run hills in training when your whole city is pancake-flat? You run repeats on the side of the levee, of course.
I run uptown around Audubon park, and my long run route gives me six hills: one up the side of the levee, as I get up on the levee the first time: this is deep grass and steep, so I no longer do repeats on this one. The next is by the Corps of Engineers: Their building is right on the river, so the walking path dips down off the levee to ground level. This is the longest hill, and my favorite, since it's closed to traffic and I don't have to watch for cars. I usually do ten repeats on this hill rather than five, since I skipped hill #1.
Next is a tiny hill up the side of the levee into some business's parking lot (it's located on the other side of the levee). This is the shortest hill. It gets five repeats.
Then the levee takes me to The Fly, the part of the park that is along the river, and I have two hills: one going up into the park, and one exiting. These hills are dangerous in that there is a lot of car traffic over them, and two train tracks run smack mid-hill. That also creates a nice double-hill situation: you run uphill, then it levels out where a set of train tracks are, then you continue to climb up into the park. They both get five repeats.
Foggy levee. I'm in the orange shirt: I am almost to the level area before it briefly climbs again.

Now I'm coming back down. The funny thing is - these pictures are accidental. I asked
David to take some photos of one or two levee hills so I could use them on the blog (he
runs with his phone, and I don't). He realized as he was taking these photos that that was
me running up and down the hill! We just accidentally ran into each other.

The way I do the repeats is even-effort, no stopping: run up, turn, try not to get hit by a car, run down. No speed or extra effort; I am mindful of my hamstring. Hopefully it's like adding some rollers into a regular run. We will see if it pays off in any way on race day!


  1. The area where I live is flat enough I have to go to a little bit of trouble to get to hills, but not to the extent that you do! Hopefully your repeats pay off!

  2. Any idea of how many feet of incline they are over how many feet/meters of running? Also, I've heard the RNRNO course is flat, but how flat is flat? Any inclines you know of?

    1. Oh gosh. PANCAKE flat. Totally and completely flat. The highest incline is like 12 feet, I'm not kidding. We don't have hills here!

  3. Hills are never a problem to find in Brisbane. It's harder to find a route that's flat. But then I'm a hill-hater so I count speed bumps as hills.

  4. People think of Minnesota as being pancake flat but we actually have some hilly areas of the city. During the first 1/3 of the training cycle, my club does one night of hill runs and they vary as some are very steep while some are a gradual incline. I honestly HATE running hills but I know they are good for my training.

  5. I have to giggle at the "hills" here. Apparently there's some big bridge you can run that's on the way to Belle Chasse (or something like that)? I've heard that there's a Wednesday evening workout that takes place there, but I don't have time to drive 30 minutes there and 30 minutes back just to get in a few hills. Plus, I've heard it's kind of a shady area. I'll pass.

  6. I was just wondering on your last post how you run hills in your runs if it's so flat in New Orleans! Interesting.

    The best advice I've had about running hills is to keep your effort the same (don't charge up the hill, although I like to do this to get it over with, ha) and to push your hips forward - pretend there's a magnet pulling your hips forward. It helps keep your posture instead of slumping over. Okay, you didn't ask for advice, but there it is, ha.