Showing posts with label downhill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label downhill. Show all posts

Sunday, March 10, 2013

DST run with KWL at BSP*

*Bethpage State Park

Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 6.25 miles

Daylight Savings Time (DST) starts today and (for this one) we "Spring" forward. I wasn't thinking about that yesterday when I committed to a 7:00 AM run with a friend. In DST world, 7:00 AM is really 6:00 AM. By the time I got to bed, it was almost DST midnight. I somehow miscalculated all that and got up at 4:50 DST. So I ended up getting less than five hours of sleep.

My friend KWL arrived a little before 7:00. It was still dark when we headed over to Bethpage but it had lightened up in the ten minutes it took to get there. As I feared, the gates were up at the park so we quickly headed to Haypath Road. We were able to park the car in a spot that was adjacent to the Greenbelt trail head. This southern entrance put us on the newly paved section of the Bethpage bike path.

KWL and I started our run in 30° temperatures. We'd both dressed for the cold so we were comfortable as we made our way through the first mile. Our plan was to cover 10K easy, but easy is a relative term. KWL is a triathlete, accomplished cyclist and 1:40 half marathoner, so his "easy" pace is somewhat challenging to me. We happily compromised and settled into pace that worked for both of us.

The new section has some hills which I tackled easily, using my early run freshness to power through.  KWL loves inclines and I don't. On the other hand, he dislikes running downhill and I can do that all day. So in the rare times when I held the forward position, it was usually on a downward slope.

Along way we encountered a group running in brightly colored outfits. Both times we saw them they were about to run up a hill as we were running down. They were a cheerful, talkative bunch, undaunted by the challenge. KWL and I reached the 3.1 mile mark and immediately turned around to complete the out and back route. I was feeling a little tired at that point and wasn't looking forward to scaling the upcoming hills.

A few minutes after we'd met that challenge, I began to feel stronger. We picked up the pace with about 2K left to go. I'd thought that the trail extension would be easy, since (this time) we'd be on the better side of the hills. I'd forgotten that there were still some inclines going north. Before long, my Garmin chirped for 6 miles and we picked up the pace as we completed final quarter mile.

KWL and I both found the run exhilarating. Despite the DST change, we still had plenty of morning left. Today's experience reminded me how enjoyable it can be to run with company. I really should do that more often. Perhaps it's time to do something about joining a running club.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The ups and downs of hill running

Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes - 3% grade

Some people claim that they'd rather run uphill than down. To me, that's like saying they'd prefer to skip dessert, although I know some people who do. I love downhills because they allow me to back off on my effort during a hard run and use gravity to maintain a good pace. But every hill, either up and down, is different. I like the fact that Saturday's race has a sizable downhill section, but I wouldn't want it any steeper than it is.

Running downhill can be a challenge when the grade is high because it takes work to maintain balance, lest you begin to move faster than your legs can go. There's a whole different set of muscles at play when negotiating steep declines. I write a lot about Cow Harbor's formidable hill on James Street, but that elevation goes two ways. There's a part of Eaton's Neck Road where I wish the sharp drop would just flatten out, which it does briefly before rising for a mile on Waterside.

This morning I set my treadmill to a 3% grade and cranked my speed so that I'd get to a race-ready heart rate. It wasn't the most comfortable workout, but I was able to sustain it over 25 minutes. I can't simulate a downhill on the treadmill although some high end machines can do that. I'm not sure I need to practice downhills because every time I run at Bethpage I run down exactly as much as I go up. I just enjoy that part more.

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