Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hill Training at Westview Park (aka Garbage Hill)

We had a great hill training session last evening at Garbage Hill. Dr. Dean Kriellaars led the group through a series of dynamic workout routines and series of hill workouts. Dean is a exercise psychologist and operates the Human Performance Lab at the Winnipeg Health Science Centre. I've been running Garbage Hill for 6 years (7?) and have never varied my routine (slow jog up, slow jog down...). It was interesting to learn about the different trails on the hill and the different drills and their purpose. It was a great workout, best in a while.
Kriellaars says "Becoming a stronger runner is getting rid of your weaknesses more than making your strengths stronger." This pearl of wisdom bears consideration. After training and running for about 6 years I realized I was in a bit of a running-rut. I was a good runner, a strong runner, but I wasn't improving. I felt I was at the top of my game and the only way to improve my times was to change it up, to move out of my comfort zone, or, as Krielaars says, to get rid of my weaknesses. Briefly, for the locals, there are 7 different trails or "elements" to the hill:
  1. Loop: o.5 miles, up roadway from gate, around the cul-de-sac, return to gate (this is the most common element of the hill).
  2. Hump: 1.0 mile, up roadway from gate over crest of hill, down gravel path to back entrance (past the gate).
  3. Lump: 0.91 miles, approach steep hill past 3 yellow poles, ascend steep hill and continue up smaller hill on the gravel path to left, run along flat path towards the cul-de-sac, keep left and run on dirt single track toward toboggan slide at north end, descend toboggan slide and the up the small hill at the back fence, veer right back along gravel path and ascend gradual hill to cul-de-sac, then descend the roadway back to starting point.
  4. Grind: 0.24 miles, approach steep hill past 3 yellow poles, ascend the steep hill and continue up smaller hill on the gravel path to the left, shortly after reaching peak turn left down a set of 2 switchbacks to small dirt trail returning to start.
  5. Triangle: Approach steep hill past 3 yellow poles, ascend the steep hill and then continue up smaller hill and then veer right past the stone blocks, descend path at blocks and then turn right onto small dirt path to starting point to starting point.
  6. Bowtie: Approach steep hill past 3 yellow poles, ascend the steep hill and then veer right to stone blocks, descend path at blocks, turn left onto smaller dirt path, ascend next upward trail and return to stone blocks, descend path and then turn right on dirt path to yellow poles and ascend main steep hill.
  7. Snake: A series of switchbacks leading from the top of main steep hill to the north end along trails and return.
The first four elements seem to fit my needs. Whichever element you choose be absolutely sure you're suitably warmed up before hitting the hills. I'm hoping to hill train at least once per week between now and June. At this point, Tuesdays or Wednesdays seem to work well. Call me if you'd like to join me. Happy trails.
Thank you Dean Kriellaars for the great workout. It was as intense as it was motivating. Just what the doc ordered!
M
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