Hill Cycles

Tyler and I at Bass Lake in Blowing Rock, NC. (Photo Credit: Lynn Willis)
Tyler  and I at Bass Lake in the Fall. (Photo Credit: Lynn Willis)

I was inspired earlier this week by my teammate Tyler Pennel to finally start a blog. If any of you know Tyler, or T-Bird as he is known on the mean streets of Blowing Rock, you know he is incredibly laid back and not prone to any type of self-promotion. I have always erred on the side of caution when deciding whether or not to start a blog due to an unhealthy fear of being publicly self aggrandizing even though I think occasionally have something of substance to offer the world. So when T-Bird decided to get his website up and rolling (plug: http://www.tylerpennelrunning.com) I thought that if a man as humble and unassuming as Tyler could do it, a man as secretly self-absorbed as myself could do it too!

I will do my best to expand my posts to more than running but that will be the core of what I talk about. I don’t think that enough elite runners let people know what they are doing in training and I think Pete Rea, ZAP head coach, has some neat staple workouts that others may benefit from learning about (plug: http://www.zapfitness.com).

Here is my last week of training(1/26-2/1):

Sunday: AM: 10 miles (w/8×200 post run)     PM: 5 miles

Monday: AM: 17 miles (w/1 min, 2 min, 30 sec surges every 7 min, last 80 minutes of run)

Tuesday: AM: 8 miles (w6x25 sec strides post run)     PM: 4 miles

Wednesday: AM: 11 miles

Thursday: AM: 14 miles (20/15/7 hill cycle workout, details below)     PM: 5 miles

Friday: AM: 7 miles (7×150 post run)     PM: 6 miles

Saturday: 9 miles

Total Weekly Mileage: 96 miles, 11 runs, core routine 4x  (Tues/Wed/Fri/Sat)


Specifics: Because I ran the USA Half Marathon Championships on January 19, I took the next week very easily with no workouts. Coming into this week I moved my long run to Monday because most of the ZAP crew (Pezz, Cameron, Kevin, Baby G, Joe) was in Boston for an indoor race and I wanted to be able to run the long run with the group. We did our long run at the Miccosukee Canopy Greenway which is one of my favorite running spots in Tallahassee. It is a dirt trail that runs for almost 8 miles one way and because you are in the woods for most of it, you often forget how long you’ve been running.

The Thursday workout was back at Miccosukee on it’s main grass field. Cameron, Moen, Kevin, George, Joe, and I did a hill cycle workout. Essentially it is a segmented tempo-like run on a roughly 1200 meter loop in intervals of 20 minutes, 15 minutes, and 7 minutes. Each segment is followed by 5 minutes of easy jogging. The goal of the workout is to get progressively faster on each loop within each segment while also getting faster than each preceding segment as a whole. The loop starts on a slight downhill with the effort on this part of the loop being off tempo pace, which for this workout started around 5:15 pace. After about 300 meters we were at base of a 250 meter hill. The hill has 3 cones on it every 60-75 meters. At each cone, we were supposed to get faster (3 gear changes) until we crest the hill. At the top of the hill, we float easily downhill for 60ish meters to another cone, where we go right back into the original off tempo pace. This segment continues on the downhill and leads right back to where the loop started. Repeat. The emphasis of each loop is on the hill segment and the goal is to run that hill faster each time while still being able to go back to that off tempo pace; all with only a 60 meter jog recovery in each loop.

As a group, the first loop of the opening 20 minute piece was run in 3:58 and finished with a loop of 3:44. After 5 minutes of easy jogging, the 15 minute piece started at 3:52 and ended at 3:36. After another 5 minute jog, we did 1 more loop plus another hill, with the last full loop taking 3:32. We progressed throughout the entire workout exactly as Pete had planned. By the send half of the workout, the off tempo segment was under 5 minute pace as a frame of reference to where we started. It was probably one of the best group workouts we have had since everyone has been together in Tallahassee. Good day all around. Oh, and Joe blew us all away on the last hill showing off some of that 3:39 1500m speed.


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