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Running downhill is easy and hard

May 31, 2011

As part of the St. George marathon build-up I’m working on my downhill running.   See why?

Well, running downhill can be fast and fun but it requires some specific fitness.  So, every week I’m doing a downhill training session, starting with about 4 miles in a block and working up to 8.  (These workouts also have a mile or two of warm-up and similar cool-down.)  Yesterday was my first such workout, logging a bit over 4 miles of constant downhill of about -5% grade on the treadmill, achieved by setting the negative incline to its max (-2%), then propping the back up another couple of inches with free weight plates.

I’d say the run was a success, in that I didn’t really get tired at all.  That’s not what the downhill training sessions are about – I’ll test the ol’ central governor hard in other workouts.   And I was able to comfortably run at a good bit faster than goal marathon pace (7:25/mile), averaging about 7 minute miles without working too hard.  But, the  workout did what it needed to, as evidenced by today’s disproportionately high level of soreness for the relatively low mileage.  I’m more convinced than ever that these downhill runs will help build the connective tissues and under-used little muscle fibers that I’ll need for the specific course profile.  But Wednesday’s sure aren’t going to feel too good for the next 17 weeks.

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