Tempo Hill Intervals: Now with Bonus Interval!

On Thursday, I had another round of hills. No, I didn’t skip up them this time.

My training plan (which has changed dramatically since I got injured) called for 3x hills. That didn’t sound so bad.

I had read an article about tempo hill intervals, a variation of short hill intervals that didn’t allow as much recovery. I don’t know why I decided to torture myself, as if just hills aren’t bad enough, but I thought this was a good idea.

The article says to run up a hill just faster than 10k pace for about 50 seconds. Then jog back down, only taking about 5 seconds longer. Repeat 12 times. Um, yeah, maybe on a less steep hill.

If you recall, my goal 10k pace is 10:26. However, that’s probably not my current 10k pace. I have no idea really what that is. So I just aimed for 10:30 pace.

I went to that awful hill I hate. This hill has what I can only describe as runaway bike decks all along the side of it. Like those runaway truck ramps on the side of the interstate on long downhill sections? Except these are wooden and look like small decks and it would probably really suck for you if your breaks went out and you had to use one of them. Anyway, that will probably give you some indication of how steep the hill is. It needs runaway bike decks.

I placed my water bottle at the first one towards the bottom of the hill, so I would know where I was aiming on my way down. I had done about a half mile warmup and forgot to check my watch to time my 50 seconds before I took off on my first interval. So I just basically had to guess when 50 seconds was up. I stopped at the next to last deck thing (which also has a pole with a big orange ring painted around it to make it easy to aim for). My watch said 56 seconds (probably a little less, since I didn’t have my button pressing down to a science yet), 10:28 pace. Okay, not bad.

I jogged back down the hill in 1:04, a little slower than I was supposed to. I also maybe took a quick standing-around-panting break and drank some water at the bottom, even though that defeats the purpose of the tempo intervals, but it wasn’t a long break.

Back up the hill! This one was slower. Much slower. It took 1:02 this time, which is about an 11:23 pace. That won’t do. Back down the hill in 1:05, another quick break.

I told myself for the third one that it was the last one I HAD to do (though I thought I probably had enough for two more in me). 55 seconds, 10:42 pace. A little slower than I wanted, but not bad. I wanted to do one more to prove that I could do a 10:30 pace, even being as exhausted as I was. So back down and a short break.

The fourth interval was done in 54 seconds, 10:31 pace. Close enough! Down the hill, where I grabbed my water bottle for a sip.

Then I decided, what the heck. Bonus interval time! I wanted to go all the way to the top for an extra dose of mental fortitude. I took off from the bottom, but I was so worn out by the middle, I felt like I was just barely running. I wanted to stop so many times. So many times. I finally made it to the top, after what felt like an eternity, but was actually only 1:26. I kinda wished I was wearing my HR monitor because I thought I was going to die at the top; I had to have hit max HR. I managed to average a 10:46 pace over the entire length. Not too shabby!

Then I had a nice half mile cooldown to bring my mileage to an even two miles. So I was supposed to do three intervals, and ended up doing five, with the last one being longer. Feel the burn!

post-running selfie

So happy to be done with hill intervals!

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One thought on “Tempo Hill Intervals: Now with Bonus Interval!

  1. Pingback: Progressive Runner | Week of 7/14/14 – 7/20/14: My cooler weather prayers were answered!

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