Digging Deep

One of the workouts my BFF/Coach is making me do every week is “hill” repeats. I use quotes because honestly, it’s barely a hill. But, it’s the best I can do from my front door. It is at least an incline.

Screen shot 2013-03-10 at 3.14.36 PM

This was my third time doing this workout. I’ve been running the same “hill”, 4x or 5x for each workout. The first time I did this workout, I was supposed to run fast but not an all out sprint. My fastest trip up the hill was 1:16.4. Last week, I was supposed to sprint. My trips up the hill were 1:14.2, 1:14.7, 1:09.4, 1:06.5 and 1:01.2.

This week, I was supposed to sprint up the hill again. “SPRINT HARD” were the exact directions. And, given last week’s 1:01.2 best, I had one goal. Do it in under a minute.

I also realized that I was only supposed to sprint up the hill 4 times. While I was out there last week, I forgot if it was 4 or 5, so I did 5. This week, I was supposed to just repeat last week’s workout, so I was supposed to do 4. And that was my plan.

But my first four trips up the hill were 1:03.4, 1:02.4, 1:02.2 and 1:00.4.

ARGH. Garmin gives splits in even seconds, so it told me 1:00. SO CLOSE.

I trotted back down the hill thinking that’s still something to be proud of. I can always try again next week. And hey, it’s cold! 23 degrees. (#SpringYoureDoingItWrong … come on guys, let’s get that trending.) I’ve heard that temps below freezing can negatively affect* your pace. Even if it’s the tiniest effect*, I’m the tiniest bit over my goal.

But … that wasn’t enough. I had a goal. I hadn’t met that goal.

So I decided to take one more trip up the hill. And I was going to give it all I had that time. Even though I thought I did that on the last sprint.

I told myself I would show this hill who’s boss. (What does that even mean?) I kept repeating “f-you hill.” (But you know … with the whole word … clearly, this hill and I have a personal relationship.) I dug deep. I started using a visualization that I probably haven’t used in years – soccer. When I play soccer, I’m a defender. Meaning, I have to beat fast little forwards to get to the ball. Lots of sprinting. So, I would visualize that I’m in a game, and I need to beat my opponent to the ball. And she’s a forward, so of course she’s fast and she’s sprinting. So I sprint harder.

And it worked. 56 seconds.

It’s silly really. I’m not in a race. There is no one else around. This is just one workout, of many. But, you know, my mom always taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing well. And it’s really hard for me to set a goal and not achieve it. I’m competitive. With myself. (Additional thoughts on that topic may come in a future post.) So I felt pretty triumphant as I trotted back down the hill.

However, I got home and I looked at my splits:

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Apparently I cheated the 2nd and 3rd sprints … but more importantly, average pace for that last sprint = 6 minutes even.

So you can guess what next week’s time’s** hill repeats goal will be.

That would be a sub-6 pace, in case it wasn’t obvious. I don’t think I’ve ever had a split at a sub-6 pace. Granted, it’s a short distance, but I do not care.

What do you do when you need to dig deep and push yourself? 


* Not gonna lie, I had to consult Grammar Girl on affect vs. effect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that post and I still have to look it up. So if I’m still using them wrong, someone (Dad) correct me. (My dad has worked as a copy editor since practically the dawn of time.)

** Of course, I checked, and I’m not doing hill repeats next week. 

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12 Comments on “Digging Deep”

  1. It’s not silly at ALL. It’s that kind of ‘f-you hills’ attitude that makes champions.

    I’m curious what is a good distance (or time) to shoot for on a hill repeat? I think I read something in RW once a LONG time ago about how you shouldn’t sprint uphill for longer than X (no idea what time it was). I guess it also would depend on how steep the incline. Rambling…

    1. Um, I have no idea. That’s why I have a coach, haha. I think maybe for longer hill repeats, you wouldn’t want to do an all-out sprint? But, that’s just my thought. Is there a McMillan calculator for that?

  2. Yay! Hill repeats!!! WTG on getting a sub 1:00! I have a hilly route I run in my neighborhood and I just try to decrease time overall 🙂

    Ugh, I saw IN A BOOK, it said effect instead of affect. MADE ME CRAZY! That is the only grammar thing I get right.

    1. OK, so does that mean that I did get it right this time? 🙂

      Apparently there is a lot of discussion on whether or not it should still be a rule, but I hate reading split infinitives, especially in a book or magazine. Or blog post. Or anywhere. But I guess it’s not a rule anymore so I should just get over it. (Or should I say, I just should get over it? Har har.)

  3. Nice job with the hill repeats and nice job in going sub 60 secs. I am dreading the hills in Boston. I am actually also dreading the downhill portions of the course. In the past, I have messed up my shins in downhill stretches, ’cause I tend to over-stride and I am not used to the impact. I don’t want to get injured so close to the race, so I am running 100% on flat surfaces. I guess I will deal with the hills when I get to them! Anyway, I have the opposite problem about digging deep. I tend to always want to dig deep in my workouts, and I should only be doing that during my quality workouts (about 2x a week). I have to figure out how to be happy with slow recovery runs and slow LSD runs without pushing myself. Not every run is a race. 🙂

  4. You’re sprinting up hills? Wow! I should probably consider trying to run up any of the “hills” near me, I’m sure that’d be good training.

    My “f-you” mantra is often directed at all of the people who have told me over the years that I couldn’t do things (um, is this maybe not healthy? I don’t know), and coupled with “I can do this, I can do this.”

  5. Killer workout! And, yes, show that hill who’s boss! I’ve never done hill repeats but some of the guys at work like to do them before Quarryman so I have a feeling there might be a few in my future.

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