By gold, I mean not gold in the literal sense but in the rewards that hill work brings to your running regimen. Doing hill work is a terrific way to tax your legs and cardiovascular system without having to increase your speed. Being allergic to running fast during training, I like to think of hill workouts as a poor man's speed work.
Most half- and full-marathon schedules prescribe some amount of hill work. Runner's World put out a concise list of hill workout sessions they recommend. See the link here.
Those of us who live and run here in the Piedmont region are blessed (or cursed, depending on your viewpoint) with a multitude of rolling hills. There are many places where you can crank out a few hilly miles. Here are a couple within the confines of Davidson that I use on occasion. One is hill repeats and the other is a hilly course.
* South St. Davidson: Park near the McEver baseball fields in South St. Begin your uphill run where the greenway begins, but run uphill on South St. toward downtown. Stop at the three-way intersection near CVS. Turn around and do a slow downhill jog back. Each way is six tenths of a mile, so if you're trying to do six miles, run this ten times (five up and five back).
* River Run Subdivision: Park across from the soccer field at the Robert Walker Dr. entrance to River Run. Begin your run there and head into the River Run subdivision. Right turn at River Crossing Blvd. Left turn at River Falls Dr. Right turn on River Ford Dr. When you get to Greyton Lane (near the community swimming pool), turn around and head back. Each way is about three miles, thereby giving you six total of rolling hills.
* Bonus Route - Grey Road: This route isn't nearly as user-friendly as the other two, in that there are no sidewalks, there are the occasional critter (skunk, snake, dog, deer, etc.). Also, while there isn't much road traffic with which to contend, be prepared to step off the road and into tall grass if need be in order to let a car pass by. If this isn't your cup of tea, don't attempt it. If you're still interested, you will be rewarded by a couple of BIG hills. Later on I will use Grey Road in some longer runs.
Route begins at the intersection of Davidson-Concord Rd. and Grey Rd. Take Grey Rd. all the way to the new Abersham development, stopping at Abersham Lane on the right. Turn around and head back for a run that's just over 4.5 miles.
P.S. Thanks to Kara for suggesting this topic!