Saturday, May 26

The Penguin and the Hills

This was a significant week for me, RS, because it was week 1 of my 20-week training for my first marathon, the Chicago Marathon.
A local veteran Springfield marathoner assures me Chicago is "flat as a pancake." How much hill training should I do? Or, my real question, should I do any real hill training?

I had the pleasure to see John "The Penguin" Bingham and coach Jenny Hadfield discuss hills at a running clinic they hosted just before the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville. The Penguin (it says that on his nametag) is a slower runner who encourages people to run regardless of speed. He comes across as a jokester, an ordinary guy. Jenny is the more serious coach with technical information. They make a cute, hilarious couple.

Three questions into the clinic, it was obvious people were nervous about Nashville hills. The Penguin said no one should worry. Nashville is filled with "gentle," rolling hills you can see over, he said. Everyone laughed as Jenny shook her head in disagreement behind his back.

Jenny made RS and others raise a hand and repeat an oath: "I will make friends with hills." She stressed that you must work with the shape of a hill, and not fight against it. You should "let the hill pull you down" on the descent, she said.

Disturbing Penguin comment: The Penguin said hills can be good because they work various muscle groups ... "unlike Chicago where you pound the same muscle group over and over."


Blogger bl said...

Hill training is like strength training for runners. A lot of runners dislike marathons that are completely flat because they get bored. Bored? I don't understand that.

But I would definitely run hills because hills will make you stronger.

And I doubt that Chicago is completely flat. Thus, running the more challenging hills of the Ozarks will prepare you for any speedbumps on the Chicago course.

May 28, 2007 6:58 PM  

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