It’s all downhill from here, literally!

With five marathons and a few other races behind me so far in 2014, my focus now shifts.  My plans for this year were really two fold, and I am now on to the second part of 2014 plans.  What does this mean?  After a few weeks of recovery, well really a month of lower mileage, the hills are beckoning my name.

This Summer is all about hill training.  Why?  I have an amazingly different sort of marathon to run in September.  A marathon quite unlike any other I’ve run in my 13 attemps.  In September, I will hop on a four and a half hour flight to Utah for an amazing adventure.  An adventure to a new state, a place I have always wanted to visit but never have.  An adventure of epic proportions, and mostly downhill.  I am running the Big Cottonwood Marathon by Revel.


I have already begun the training regime that I believe will get me to that starting line as prepared as possible.  I’ve heard that this marathon can be a killer on the quads, so my workouts over the next two months will be all about building strength.  Squats, leg presses, hill workouts, and the like are in order.  Luckily I have a few decent sized hills right here at home to test and retest my quads.  I generally incorporate hill training in my everyday marathon plans, but this time around I need to focus more on the downhills.  Sounds fun, right?  Who wouldn’t want to spend extra time doing that?

I began a week ago, and if all goes according to plan, my legs will be stronger and ready to tackle 16 miles of descent.  This race starts at a ski resort in Utah, and traverses through the canyon down to a mostly flat finish.  I have always taken hill grades seriously, and try to practice ahead of time.  I believe this will be critical to maximize my success chances in Utah.  For weeks prior to the Blue Ridge Marathon last year, I worked on hills.  I did the best I could, but those were not hills, they were mountains.  My preparations helped, but weren’t maximized.  This time around I will prepare better.

I am going to work on the downhills.  Work on my speed, and pacing.  I will work on my breathing techniques to maximize my downhill pace, and really stretch my stride to get further in a shorter amount of time.  I remember a few massive downhill sections on the Blue Ridge course, and it takes a lot of effort.  Different effort.  You are almost forced to run faster, to move better with gravity.  It’s fun, but taxing.  I remember hitting a flat section after a mile of downhill at a significant grade, and thought my Achilles’ tendons were going to snap.  I remember the quad burn, the adjustment you had to make back to the flat surface.  It’s not easy.  I am preparing better this time.

I can’t wait to #GoBig in Utah this September.  Hopefully my body will be ready, and will take me down that canyon at Boston Qualifying speed.  That is the goal after all.

Do you have any good training tips to share?  Good workouts for quads?  Good experiences with downhill races to share?  Please do!