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Doing The Right Hill Work
The common mistake runners make when training for Boston is doing the wrong type of hill work and neglecting downhill training. Often, runners will simply include more hill repeats, like 9 x 60-90 seconds uphill sprints, into their training cycle.
Unfortunately, doing lots of hill repeats is not the best way to help you run faster over a hilly course like Boston. In Boston, many of the hills you will encounter will be long and gradual, not steep and short. Furthermore, the pace at which you ascend the hill will be conservative, not an all out sprint. Therefore, the specific muscles you are working and the specific demands you are placing on your body will be drastically different between a hill repeat workout and race.
This doesn’t mean that long hill repeats are useless, but rather that they are only one element of course-specific hill training.
Moreover, much of the difficulty of the Boston course comes from the early downhill miles, which thrash your quads and make your legs feel like Jell-O for the final miles. We need to train your legs to handle this stress by incorporating downhill work into your training as well.
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