No matter what type of race you’re training for – be it a mile or a marathon – there are three workouts you should incorporate into your weekly training program.
And, perhaps the least favorite of all, hill bangers.
The reason for the dislike of No. 3 is simple. Hill work almost always means discomfort. OK, pain.
Simply put, the idea is to hit your aerobic threshold as quickly as possible. . .and sustain it.
The objective is to increase your tolerance when that darn old lactic acid starts to build up in your legs in the late stages of a race.
By improving your body’s function to tolerate this madness, the hope is that you will perform more efficiently as you approach the finish line.
So, if you live in Bucks County, where are the best hills in the area to train on?
Here’s a list of my personal favorites:
- Baldpate Mountain, Titusville, N.J.: Head just over the Washington Crossing bridge and you’re only about a mile from the base of Baldpate (off Fiddlers Creek Road).
Baldpate, part of the Sourland Mountain range, is about a 400-foot ascent in just under a mile. It’s no let-up. But when you get to the top (look for a picnic table in the clearing), the view is spectacular. In fact, on a clear day, you can see the Philadelphia skyline in the distance.
Run up and down this three times and I promise you will be ready for the bathtub.
- Any hill in Tyler State Park: There are at least three segments in the 5.3-mile loop and one on the entrance road to the main pavilion which will serve the purpose.
As any runner in the Bucks County Roadrunners’ Winter Series will tell you, there’s hardly a flat section of trail in the entire park.
The segment coming back from Schofield Ford Covered Bridge is perfect for repeats. Mark off a quarter-mile stretch on your Garmin and do first run at moderate pace. Then go a little faster on the next one and so on. By No. 5, you should be pretty much gassed.
- Fretz Mill Road (off Fleecy Dale, Lumberville): Oh boy, this is almost as much fun as Baldpate. In places, the incline is more severe.
You know how you can tell this one is the real deal? Try riding your bike up it without getting out the saddle. If you can make it to the top sitting down, email me and let’s talk about the 2020 Olympics.
- Federal Twist Road, Stockton, N.J.: Again, this is a favorite for mountain bikers. It just keeps going and going and going.
The cool parts are it’s straight, it’s not horribly steep and there’s light car traffic. Park your car in Bull Island lot and jog over to where Federal Twist hits River Road.
A few times up and down should be a full day’s work.
- Bowman’s Tower entrance road, New Hope: Incredible inclines which test the most experienced runner. But those who get to the top in one piece are rewarded with a gift shop for water, bathrooms and for a reasonable price, take the elevator to the top of the tower and get a tremendous panorama view of the Delaware River and a good 20 miles in any direction.
Honorable mention: Tohickon Hill Road, Point Pleasant; Horseshoe Bend Road, Frenchtown, N.J.; Rocktown-Lambertville Road, Lambertville, N.J.; North Sugan Road, New Hope.
26th annual Doylestown 5K, 9 a.m., Doylestown. Contact www.dtown5k.com.