Adventures In Running

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Choices: Uphill/Downhill

While running today, I had some time to think. Actually, I decided it was better to think about running than to think about my current run.

I had decided that I wanted to have a nice, long downhill on today's run. However, as I ran to where the downhill started, I realized that I had to do a lot more uphill running in order to get where I wanted to go than there would be downhill running. This was probably the toughest run I have ever done (not counting marathons and ultra-marathons) and I came to some interesting conclusions.

Uphill benefits:
  • Excellent cardio workout
  • What goes UP must come DOWN
  • Pride

Downhill benefits:

  • Excellent quadriceps workout
  • The breeze blowing through my hair
  • Speed
  • Carefree running (when not on trails)

It wasn't until August, 2007 that I decided I had to learn how to run hills. I was never much of a runner before then, but when I did run, I liberally followed the ultrarunner theme of 'walk the uphills, run the downhills and flats'. (Except my version was run the downhills only). As my fitness improved, I began to start running up hills - unless I decided the hill was steep enough that I would actually be faster race walking them. It has taken a while - but I am conquering the hill demons. As a matter of fact, I think I might be 'stronger' now on uphills than I am on downhills.

Final conclusion: Hills are a pain and hard work. Downhills are the reward for making it uphill. I take a lot more pride in conquering a long uphill than I do a long downhill.


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