Ever since I started running again, I’ve pretty much avoided running whenever we had to do hill work at Orangetheory. While my first few run attempts at Orangetheory were sometimes at a 4% incline (because I forgot it was set to that while I was walking) or a 2% incline (because the 1% felt almost downhill to me), that was while I was doing much slower running and I wasn’t going for as long. But since I’ve gotten into slightly longer running segments, I’ve pretty much decided that if we had to do hill work that I would be walking during it. But this past week of workout got to test that limit and I’m pretty excited about what I was able to do!
Monday’s workout was a 3G workout with 3 groups of people. That was because of the holiday, but since I rarely get to do 3G workouts I was pretty excited to get to have that on Monday. Usually with 3G workouts, we are split into 3 groups and we spend time on the treadmill, rower, and floor as a single group. But this time, it was a 3G 3 buddy workout. So basically we all were split into groups of 3 and we worked together as a team the entire time. There were 6 rounds and each round each group member was on the treadmill, the rower, and the floor.
In each round, we had different things to do on the floor. Sometimes we had planks, sometimes we had hop overs, sometimes there were lunges, and sometimes there were burpees. We repeated going whatever was the plan for that round until we were tagged by a teammate. And on the rower we were rowing until we were tagged out. The entire workout timing was set by the person on the treadmill.
On the treadmill, if you could run 6 mph or faster, you ran for 1/4 mile. If you couldn’t run that fast, you did half of the distance but you had to be at 4% incline. While I can run 6 mph for a bit of time, I couldn’t do an entire 1/4 mile at that speed. So I went for the half distance at an incline option. Because I didn’t want to overdo things, I did do it as a run/walk. I ran for a minute at the incline and then I put the incline up to 6% and walked it until I was done (I pretty much could get it done in under 2 minutes every time).
The run part was definitely a challenge for me at times. While I’ve done running at that incline in the past, it’s not really something I’ve done that much lately. And I had to do it 6 different times! Toward the end it felt like the incline was at least double what it really was at, but I’m glad I made it through it and I think it was a great training thing to do with my upcoming races (since it’s not always a totally flat road).
Wednesday’s workout was a strength workout, so a lot of the work on the treadmill was on hills. I did try to run at least a little bit of each of the hill runs, but when we were getting to the higher inclines I wasn’t able to make it more than a few seconds before I had to slow down to a walk. Walking up hills isn’t necessarily easier for me, but I think being slower does help me not feel like I’m doing too much at one time. Fortunately, we all some all-outs that were on a flat incline so I could run for all of those. And I even did one of the 1 minute all-outs at 6 mph (which was really intense but I felt amazing when I was done).
On the floor, we had some lower body work like squats and hip work. We also had some arm work to do and for all of the weighted work I was able to use 20 pound weights. I’m feeling like I’m getting closer to being able to use 25 pound weights soon, but when I tried them a bit this past week they were just a little too heavy and I wasn’t feeling like I was safe to do the work we were going to do. I’m always terrified that I’ll drop a weight on my foot or something, so I’d rather use slightly lighter weights that I can feel in control with than heavier weights that don’t feel as in control.
My last workout of the week was on Friday. My legs were feeling a bit tired after doing my outside run on Thursday, so I know that I need to figure out a good way to balance those workouts in with my Orangetheory schedule. I had some shin splints on Friday morning (I didn’t feel them at all on Thursday so they surprised me), so I was glad that when I got to my workout it was a bit less treadmill work than normal.
The workout had elements of endurance, strength, and power which was probably the best thing I could have had that day. We started with power on the treadmill and a 2 minute push to begin the block. I ran for 1 minute of it and then walked the second minute. Then we had 1 minute all-outs followed by walking recovery. I ran for all of the all-outs (I think we had 4 of them) and I was noticing my shin splints weren’t starting to hurt as much after that block. I’m not sure why that happened, but I was pretty happy about it.
For the strength block on the treadmill, it was hills again. I decided to walk for all of the hills just because I had done so much hill work earlier in the week and I had pushed it a lot in the power block with the running. But at the end of the strength block we did have an all-out on a flat incline so I was able to do some running for that one. And for endurance, we actually went over to the rower instead of staying on the treadmill. We had a 2 minute row, 1 minute to rest, and then another 2 minute row. I was able to get over 400 meters for each of those rows which isn’t bad and I was pretty tired by the time we headed over to the floor.
Thankfully, the floor work seemed to be focused on arms and upper body work more than anything. For all of the arm and shoulder work, I was using the 20 pound weights. And when we had some lower body work, even though we had the option to use weights I decided not too because my hips were starting to get a little sore and I didn’t want to have bad form and risk hurting myself.
I’m really glad that I tested out running on hills this past week. I don’t know if I’ll try doing that every week (I definitely felt it in my hips after each workout), but it’s always good to keep pushing myself. I really do want to focus on my running endurance more than anything right now and while hills aren’t the best way to do that, it’s not the worst either. I have ideas of what I need to do for my training for the next few weeks to be ready for my race in November. I’m still a bit worried that I won’t be able to do the entire thing as a run/walk (which is my biggest goal), but hopefully whatever I’m able to do between my Orangetheory workouts and running on my own will help me get close and closer to that goal!