Race training: just one hill

New England runners will surely catch the reference to the mother of all “hill” races in the Northeast: the Mount Washington Auto Road Race. It’s a 7.6 mile race that climbs almost 5,000 vertical feet. There are those among us who love running hills and running in the mountains, and this is sounds like a grand ol’ time for us. So far, this is really the only road race I’m interested in right now. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have the best training ground in flattened Boston for success at ol’ Mt Washington, and winter weather awakens the laziness in me far too frequently. But I can solve both of those problems by putting a temporary hold on my feud with the Dreaded Treadmill, which is actually pretty useful in simultaneously flipping off the winter windchill of -16°C and allowing me to do sustained runs on an incline. The best I can do locally have been my series of hill runs that are more like roller coasters than reasonable hills. Practically in my backyard is actually the best local hill, Summit Ave, which rises a measly 250 feet or so over the pedestrian 0.42 miles. It’s plenty hard, actually, but I really need to be able to run a bunch of Summit Aves, in a row, without having to backtrack down the hill every not-even-half mile. I’m no Rickey Gates (current champion), but I’d like to be able to run Mt Washington strongly. So today I guess I officially started my Mt Washington Auto Road “training,” with a simple but effective 15 minute session on the treadmill at 10% grade, followed by a short rest and then a climb from 6% to 15% in 1% increments every 10 seconds, just to get a feel for the variety. This was plenty hard, and I’m not even in the worst hill running shape ever. It’ll be a fun goal to aim for. Anyone who wants to run hills with me is always welcome!

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