As planned, I hit the hills this past week. But my as-of-late laid-back approach still affected how I did them. Usually I run for about 20 minutes on the flats, then attack a set of hills repeatedly with a singular focus. For example, there's a cluster of three hills that lead up a nearby ridge. One hill is longer and less steep than the other two. If I'm doing 10 hill repeats, I typically start with three trips up and down the longer hill, then have the meat of my workout be three repeats up and down each of the other two hills, and finish with one more trek up the longer one. Then I run about 15 minutes to cool down.
Instead, on Friday, I decided to embark on a random-for-me route that included a variety of hills. The run started out fairly normally--through my neighborhood and into a bordering park. Then I headed up a fairly gradual hill onto the same ridge. From thereI ran parallel to the ridge, dropping down pretty much any hill I came across, then hustling back up it to the ridge again. I felt like a seamstress stitching the most random pattern across a swatch of fabric.
The end result was the same: 10 hill repeats. But having the hills be spread out over the bulk of my run instead of clustered together in the middle made for a livelier, more free-spirited run. Who knows if the session was any less effective for my body, but my mind sure enjoyed the ride.