Trail Zealot

Colorado hiking, Appalachian Trail thru-hiking, and more...

April 5, 2020, 3:51 p.m.

Really enjoying the challenge of hills. Hopefully I'm not blowing my lid on them too often. Last night, I did some research about why my knees knock together later in a run - turns out it may be related to weakness in my glutes. For someone who thinks of themself as a hiker at heart, this was tough to swallow. My butt is weak? That is the exact opposite of my self-concept. Perhaps the weakness is specific to running. I was also reading my knee-knocking may have to do with tight hips from sitting too much. Anyway, all that was background to explain...hill sprints. I added some in to this run. The thinking goes: short, maximal bursts uphill are a great way to recruit the bulk of my leg muscle fibers, even the ones that don't get activated until I express my maximum power. In my day-to-day running, I don't do much all-out running. But that can be a problem - the brain and all its nervous system friends don't get much practice at sending a signal to the muscles that says "GO HARD". This can make achieving the highest speeds very difficult. In my case, I wanted to use the hill sprints specifically to activate my glutes. I'm still coming up to speed on just how to do that, but I thought hill sprints would make for some fun variety. The idea was to push as hard as possible for a very short time, on the order of 10 seconds, and then to recover fully before the next one. Full recovery of all those muscle fibers and metabolic processes isn't fast; it is on the order of minutes. I knew I would have enough recovery, though, because between each rep, I would run all the way down the hill and then back to nearly the top. Focused on staying slow before each rep, so that my metabolic systems wouldn't go into overdrive and lower that damn pH.
I would actually like to find some steeper hills for this. The hills near Mount Sanitas are gradual. Kalmia didn't really have a steep part to speak of - I wouldn't do sprints there again. Also I was pretty unfocused on the first one with a biker going slowly in front of me. I had more success at the top of Iris, and then again as I headed up Broadway between Linden and Norwood. The steeper the better though! It looks like the streets in this neighborhood have a more pronounced steep spot as you head south. I'll check there next time.