It’s time to put the finishing touches on training for one of Brevard’s most popular running events, the Melbourne Art Festival 5k! According to Denise Piercy, owner of the Running Zone, 1,459 local “athletes” of all ages and fitness levels crossed the finish line in last April.   The race begins at Holmes Park, on Melbourne Avenue and runs up and over the Melbourne Causeway… and back again.

In an otherwise flat county, an important training component for this event is to do hill work to get both body and mind prepared for the causeway.

Both the Melbourne and Eau Gallie causeways have convenient parking and a sidewalk for pedestrian traffic.  With a pass in each direction you will reap the benefit of about one mile of work plus any extra distance you add on.   As your conditioning improves, you may add more passes and/or increase your pace for an extra boost.  It is especially important to have the right footwear; shoes that are fit to your foot and designed for your body mechanics, when running and doing hill work.

Why participate in hill training – even if you aren’t doing the 5k:

  • Strengthen glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves
  • Great core work when you practice good form
  • Upper body strength if you drive your arms
  • Increase resistance to fatigue

Hill Repeats:

  • Always warm-up, cool down, and stretch
  • Determine a beginning point at the base of the causeway.
    • Walk or run from your start to one of the 6 light poles lining the hill as quickly as you can
  • Turn around and “recover” by slowly moving back to the start.
  • Repeat, using your current conditioning to determine how many repeats you should do

Be mindful of your form.

  • Short stride
  • Straight spine, slight forward lean from your hips
  • Drive elbows back
  • Relax neck and shoulders for better breathing and energy conservation
  • Relax on the way down, don’t lean back

Denise’s advice, “A lot of people come out and do this event and ONLY this event every year.”  She suggests that in addition to training on the causeway, “train for and participate in other 5k’s throughout the year.”  She adds, “Without experience, it is easy to get caught up in the ‘race frenzy pace’ and go out too fast.”