Starting to increase the lengths of my weekend runs now. Ran 15 miles today with as many hills as I could find and coped fine. Then went for a nice hilly 3m walk with my children, so all in all a nice day of hills!
Ran two circuits of yesterday's run + a bit more. On the second circuit, I overcame my vanity and used the my new poles which were given to me for my birthday (tomorrow by the way!).
Initial reactions to running with poles:
At first it felt really alien, like I would have to re-learn how to run.
It got easier really quickly, especially once I got a bit of rhythm going.
Going up and down hills, I could feel the benefit. Very stable and definitely takes some of the strain of the quads and knees.
I'm going to need to do some upper body strength training between now and then as I could feel the added strain on that part of my body (and my poles are only 240g!), but I had expected that anyway and have already begun.
Thoughts on my poles (Raidlight trail poles)
They are VERY light.
They are collapsible (they use a kind of tent pole design with a string running through the middle)
They are slightly flexible
They are quite short
I am 5'10" and they are about right for me, but I don't think they'd suit someone much taller (they are 110cm). Also I am about 70kg and I can feel them flex under my weight...don't think I'd want to be much heavier and use them.
All in all, I'm not sure I've made the right choice. They felt quite good and I'll have to do a lot more practice with them before I know if they suit me or not. I was quite please with how they felt in my hands and with the added stability and 'pull' on the ups and downs. The jury's still out but an interesting first attempt.