For the last few years, ever since training for the Vienna marathon 4 years ago, I always did a hill phase with plenty of drills and such. I usually started hating the drills after a week but I was able to see their benefits. I'm not quite sure why I didn't do that phase for Turin, I think I basically just never made it out of base training.
I decided to bring that phase back, and straight away. I am worried that I have done too many slow and nowhere near enough fast miles for about a year and a hills phase would be the tried and tested approach to phase that in. I also reckon that hill drills are by definition there to stimulate different muscles to the "normal" running once, hence the usual running muscles are getting an easy ride for a bit, almost acting like a recovery - that theory may be up to debate, though.
I have experimented with different lengths, 4 weeks seemed a bit long and I wasn't sure if the last week brought any real benefits. I've usually done 2 weeks, which suited me better, but since I haven't done that phase for a while I think 3 weeks would probably be more appropriate.
On Tuesday I did high knees, which I found okay, and thigh drive, which I found very, very tough, so on Thursday I swapped them around to be able to do the thigh drive on fresh legs. It still was tough and I basically can't do them for more than one minute at a time while I can last twice as long with the high knees. I also did a few hill sprints on both days, though in Thursday I did them on the road on the way home and found that this particular hill wasn't really steep enough.
Oh, and I started running twice a day now. I usually find that running more than 80 weekly miles on single runs leaves me rather tired most of the time, and if I want to add more miles it's better to do so by adding a second run of the day while slightly shortening the morning run (which has the additional benefit of getting slightly more sleep). Those evening runs are meant to be easy recovery runs and I have to be careful not to run fast - something I find can happen very easily if I'm not paying attention; evening runs just feel differently to mornings.
It's 92 days to the Spartathlon. Even though I hadn't been planning things in advance in detail, 3 months to go before the goal race seems a good time to start "real" training.
- 22 Jun
- 8 miles, 1:05:29, 8:11 pace, HR 137
- 23 Jun
- am:9.6 miles, 1:28:12, 9:11 pace, HR 141
- Hill drills: 4x30 sec sprints; high knees; thigh drive; hill sprints
- pm:5 miles, 39:28, 7:54 pace, HR 142
- 24 Jun
- am:8 miles, 1:03:46, 7:58 pace, HR 143
- pm:5 miles, 38:10, 7:38 pace, HR 144
- 25 Jun
- am:8.7 miles, 1:26:36, 9:57 pace, HR 141
- Hill drills: 4x30 sec sprints; thigh drive; high knees; hill sprints
- pm:5 miles, 39:36, 7:55 pace, HR 144