Today is Wednesday, and the third day of 42 days before Lima Marathon, and my second key workout. HIIT. Fast hill repeats bring a lot of bang for the buck. It is in many ways a shorter version of the fast all out intervals of 30 seconds each I did on Monday, but the since it is uphill you cannot go as fast and this is good because it decreases the risk of injuries. So you gain speed without actually running that fast. Secondly you build strength and get a better kick. That is you have to move up lifting your knees, forward leaning, and put force into the ground and for this you need strong muscles. They will gain strength for each workout – believe me. The effect is fast. In a month or so you will already see results.
Added strength also helps become more resilient. You legs and tendons learn to deal with impact and the natural shock absorber in your legs will become stronger.
You also gain form, as you learn to focus on keeping head up, forward lean, synchronized arm movement and you have to run on your toes.
When I first did this workout some years ago it was even shorter intervals than today. Only 8 seconds. I had had a short break because of some smaller injury and my online coach told me that these hill repeats was a good way to gain speed without actually running very fast I remember I was thinking. Eight seconds? That surely must be too little running for a marathon.
But much to my surprise I really enjoyed the workout. It feels great to give all you got once in a while and if one can do so without getting injured so much better. Last year I started hill repeats with 10 seconds and by the end I was doing 30s intervals. Therefor it felt quite OK to do 10 hill sprint intervals of 10 seconds each today.
I am fortunate to have a great hill only 3k away from my house. The 3km to get there serves as warmup and warm down. This is access road to Circuito de Playa that runs along the beach and takes you towards El Callao and the airport. The ramp is called Bajada Armendariz. From top to bottom it is almost exactly 1 km.
I realized as I started to run what was supposed to be the warmup, that my quads were still quite tight. Also my left Achilles tendon was a bit sore.
Darn! I broke a rule, that I made last year, to always begin the workouts with a stretching routine which is quite different to the routines that you see most recreational runners do. I don’t stretch by standing leaned to the wall to stretch the calfs. Stretching the muscles to extreme, before running is not good, when you want them to explode. Also, cold muscles stretching this way can get you injured. It is better do foam rolling and a dynamic warm-up exercise such a lunges, leg swings and heel drops. These also include short stretches but are within the natural movements when running so they are a very natural type of stretching that also warms you up. Those have been in my arsenal of pre-run warm-up last year and also before races.
I particularly like the lunge-matrix. It is incredible how it stretches, thighs, quads, calfs, abductors, calfs and achilles tendon. If I have felt kinks prior to the run, these simple exercise opens up and get immediate relief.
The other thing that I really need to do prior to the workouts if I am to continue to run with minimalist shoes is to do heel drops.
Although this exercise is recommended for healing Achilles tendonitis it is also a great exercise for prevention. Apart doing them with a straight leg as here it also a good to do a set with the bent knee as this also stretched the Good for Achilles tendon and the calves. Check this example.
So after 1.8 km in to the warm up I thought I’d better stop. The left Achilles tendon did not feel right. So I did the lunge matrix and 15 reps of both types of heel drops on both legs. It immediately felt better and I could follow through to the workout without problems.
I did 10x15s repeats and about one minute between of easy jog between.
Overall the workout went very well.