Week 8: Conquering hills will really get you into your stride
So we are now halfway through training for the Vhi Women's Mini marathon - it's week eight and I'm feeling - I know great rhymes with eight but it's not exactly accurate.
I feel good, and I also feel like I've got work to do! My legs are pretty strong and because the longest distance I've done so far is 5.2km, they don't get super tired.
As my distance increases, they probably will. So I think - ok, my legs can keep going.
But my cardio fitness needs work - I mean I get a burning feeling in my chest and I feel my face going red.
"This is all fine" I think, as I run. "Slow down a tiny bit, let your breath catch up". And I do. It's improving and I'm not stopping anymore - this week I've actually been running for a solid 35 minutes at a time.
Also this week and last I used two of my shorter runs to do some hill work. When I lived in Dublin, I trained for the 2011 Women's Mini Marathon in the Phoenix Park.
I began running up the grassy hill by the old munitions building as a sort of dare to myself. At the beginning, I would run up and walk back down three times, and after about two months of doing this once a week (as well as my other runs - one long and one easy) I surprised myself by actually growing to love running up hills.
I had my reps up to 10. I'm aiming for the same in the remaining eight weeks to this year's Vhi Women's Mini Marathon.
Running up hills makes you a better runner - it makes your legs stronger and it seems to make me fitter faster.
I spend a lot of time being comfortable - slouched in front of a laptop, lying on my bed, crouching in front of some guy's house waiting for him to come out so I can pretend to bump into him ... I've said too much.
Running up a hill is not comfortable - you have to change your stride, shorten it a bit, and power up using your arms. Your breath gets hard, your body strains. That is satisfying, you feel like you're conquering something, and you can always see the top of the hill. Run up that bad boy and walk back down and you'll feel like a boss.