June 15, 2013

My Journey to 26.2: Hill Training (004)

One of the things that I quickly learned about upon signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon was the hills.  Everyone who was familiar with the race made sure I knew about them too!  After a big surprise (mostly due to my lack of research) at the Run for the Dream Half with a hilly course, I told myself I need to be MUCH better prepared for the marathon.  Unfortunately (for hill training's sake), the area I live is very flat.  It's coastline, people - this isn't the mountains!  So in order to find hills, I'm going to have to do a bit of work.  I settled on a few options...

1. Trail running.  There are a few beautiful trails in our local area and they'll offer some nice elevation change and a more challenging workout environment.  A few colleagues have told me that I can get about 20 miles out on the Cape Henry Trail in Virginia Beach, which should be great for the long runs as I get deeper into training.

2. Hill repeats.  One of the random places in our area is Mount Trashmore...literally a landfill or mountain of trash that they have converted into a park with trails, picnic areas and a playground.  The hill serves as a great place for repeats and the mile trail loop will be a good warm-up/cool-down spot.

3. Treadmill sessions.  I'm certainly not a treadmill hater but the idea of doing hill work on it is less than exciting to me.  I figure that this will be a good way to get in some hills

4. Do some races with hills.  I figured that other than training, I should probably prepare my brain for hills on race morning and what other way to do that than race a hilly race.  I'll be taking on the Peachtree Road Race 10k in July which is a notoriously hilly course.  This will be a good warm up for the Marine Corps Marathon later this fall.  If nothing else, I'll learn my style of dealing with hills in race conditions and get ready. 

I figure with a combination of these 4 methods, I'll get my legs (and mind) into shape for some race-day hills in October.  Any other ideas for hill training?

More info here from Runner's World on hill training.


  1. Great ideas. Trail running is fun and challenging and should be an excellent way to prepare, as well as Mount Trashmore repeats. Nothing you can do about them but barrel up 'em!!

  2. these are great ideas! they did change the course, so no more running up resevoir (which will be nice) but instead going through the rock creek park area. as flat as dc is, we do have hills especially that b*tch of a hill at the end of the race (literally the last 0.2) that leads to the finish line and the Marine corps memorial! I am looking forward to seeing you there though!

  3. I totally need to get started on my MCM training and definitely need to start working on some hill work! Now that you mention the hills I should probably take a look at the course elevation profile to get an idea of what's in store!