I Ran Down a Mountain

I have been saying for weeks that my goal is to do one double run every week to prepare for Hood-to-Coast in August. I have managed to squeeze in a couple of them so far, but have been anything but consistent.

Over the last week or so, a little reality has set in…we are a mere 4 weeks out from the race and s**t is getting real! I know if I want to attempt to run fast for all 3 legs, I better get my butt legs in gear and on the road.

After postponing this week’s double run on Wednesday in favor of sitting on my couch, then again on Thursday in favor of dinner with friends, there was no more postponing today.

I completed my scheduled “long” run this morning, 9 miles at HMP + 20 seconds (8:15 min/mile). It was hot, brutal and my legs were still feeling yesterday’s 66+ mile bike ride.

It was by far one of the hardest long runs I have had in a while. Probably a major contributor being that I didn’t stop and refill my water bottle and was feeling dehydrated and light headed by the last mile.

**The two inconsistent splits in the middle were almost completely uphill miles. After a big day of cycling I seem to be able to keep a strong pace on flats, but I really struggle on uphills.

Despite having a tough morning, I knew I still needed to get out and get the second run in. I took a nap, rested, foam rolled and drank a TON of water and by the afternoon I was feeling confident that I could get back out on the road again.

But in addition to getting double runs in, the other thing I know I need to do is to find a way to prepare for this:

Yep, that’s my first leg of the race at Hood-to-Coast. 1500+ ft of elevation loss.

So what did I do tonight for my second run?

I ran down a mountain. Paris Mountain, to be specific.

It is much shorter than my nearly 6 mile first leg at HTC, but it is a good start! The elevation drop doesn’t look that dramatic, but according to Garmin stats…

It was over 1000 ft. of elevation loss in 3.75 miles! With a pace of 7:46 min/mile.

I had some idea as to what to expect because I have ridden up (and down) Paris Mountain on my bike numerous times, but this was the first time I had run it.

Brad drove me to the top and dropped me off.

The peak of the mountain is marked for cyclists. I am usually MORE than happy to see those words at the top!

I decided to start with the longer, but less dramatic side of the mountain for this first little venture into descending so I told Brad to head down and I would see him at the bottom.

I took it super easy where it rolls, not pushing any of the uphills and felt great on the downhills. I was just enjoying the views, letting my legs go and loving seeing the fast splits on my watch.

But about 3 miles in, I started really feeling the descending taking its toll on my legs. I was torn as to whether to open up and let my legs fly down or to hold back a little and try to control it. Both hurt equally as much and both felt like I was putting out a lot of effort.

Running downhill is fun, but now I know why these downhill legs are rated as “HARD”. The pounding on my legs and the burning of the muscles in my quads was brutal. And I definitely don’t have to worry about DOMS…the soreness has already set in!

I am hoping that it is a combination of the whole days’ running and not just the “running down a mountain” thing that has made me so sore. Because if it is, I will be in trouble on August 24 & 25 when I still have 2 legs to run after the big descent!

Needless to say, I will definitely be out there doing this again during the next few weeks!

Who has advice for me on descending for long distances? Anyone know the best approach to running down a mountain?

About Corey

I am a 30-something swim, bike, run addict married to my best friend and in love with my two schnoodle doggies.
This entry was posted in bike, Goals, Hood to Coast, Races, running, training. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to I Ran Down a Mountain

  1. Ricole Runs says:

    This is so awesome!!! This definitely reminded me of how I need to get my butt in gear for H2C! That hill you ran down is no joke – how do your quads feel?

    • Corey says:

      Oddly, my right quad is quite a bit more sore than my left?! I think you said you had the same problem after hiking, right? Also, for some reason, my back is a little sore today?! You ran leg #2 last year…how bad were your legs trashed afterward??

  2. Jocelyn says:

    I have ZERO advice, however it looks like it was beautifult views!! Did you foam roll after??

    • Corey says:

      Um, no. Crap! I didn’t foam roll when I got home and actually I only stretched a little bit because I felt bad that Brad had been waiting in the car for me the whole time! Def need to get on those things.

  3. Jocelyn says:

    beautiful not beautifult

  4. Terzah says:

    I had a downhill leg (Vail Pass–9 miles!) in my relay last year and it really tired my legs out–but I was able to tackle two more legs afterwards. My advice is to try to shorten your stride while increasing your cadence and keep a bit of a forward lean. The doubles you’re doing should help too. You will do great!

    • Corey says:

      Good advice. Thank you! I felt myself leaning back last night and having a huge stride, probably trying to fight the downhill. I will definitely try to shorten up and lean forward and be more conscious of my form.

  5. Laura says:

    Terzah gave some great advice! I’m just so impressed that had two seriously speedy runs in one day, you’re rocking it! The Poconos marathon was somewhat hilly, with lots of up and downhill, and my quads were trashed afterward. You’re so smart to prepare now!

    • Corey says:

      That was great advice! I will definitely be paying more attention to my form and trying to focus on shorter strides. I am definitely feeling yesterday’s workouts today…looking forward to a nice easy bike ride to loosen things up this afternoon!

  6. elizabeth says:

    um, yes, looks like we both realized we have some work to do :):) so funny we both posted on that today. not sure i have the best advice on the downhills. I definitely have plenty of hills in atlanta and did a ton at big sur but i’m not sure my legs were prepared enough (or ever would have been) for big sur.

    • Corey says:

      I am actually wondering if it matters how much prep I do? If you run down a mountain its probably going to hurt regardless, right?

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  8. evamadera says:

    That’s some serious decline for HTC! Running down Paris Mtn will definitely get you prepared. I’m so thankful it was there when I was training for New River. I was always thankful to start running down after the ascent but just a little after that … boy howdy! Keep up the good work!

    • Corey says:

      Thanks! I can’t IMAGINE running up Paris Mtn. Which side did you go up…from CVS or Furman side? I went down toward CVS, which rolls a little more, but I think its longer?

  9. chasingthekenyans says:

    I always wanted to do this in prep for Boston but I never did. I’m impressed! Sorry, no tips.

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