I've done hills in marathons, never liked them, always suprised me. I like them early and I'd rather have one steep one than dozens of hills.
On Sunday, I took the subway all the way up to the start line of next week's Toronto Marathon, my seventh.
It's a net downhill course, which in basic terms means a fast first half, but within those first 21K - as I found Sunday - there are some monster hills. The map above shows the elevation. You can see in yellow some of the big climbs, and the downhill parts in red (there are big ones!).
As I ran up the first one, known as Hogg's Hollow, I felt my effort skyrocket so that I had to walk at the top. There were a few other medium sized elevations in the first 12K.
On Marathon Day, I do not intend to walk these hills. My PB marathon actually coame on a course that's known to be hilly, the Flying Pig Marathon.
"Run slower at the same effort" is what we're taught to run hills. I'm going to try that, slowing to a 4:45 to 4:50 in the kilometres I'm hitting hills. I'll make it up in the downhills.
I'm really happy I did the course review -- the last 21K of the marathon is mostly run on my daily training ground, which should be an advantage I think.
The big worry I have is having smart pacing. One think I do not want to see happen is too many too-fast kilometres on the downhills. If I'm perfectly paced, I should run the first half in about 1:38. The net downhill effect, I hope, will get me to that point at around 1:36:30, which would give me a great buffer.