Hill repeats

Now who would want to do that?  Run up a hill, then down, then up, then down over and over again?  Most people would be so glad to be at the top that they wouldn’t even turn around let alone turn around with the intent to run back up again.

The hill repeat is the staple training run of Team Huey, Dewey and Louie.  Living in Deloraine we are spoilt for choice.  We have short steep hills, we have long steep hills, we have hills that roll and we have lovely hills that include switch-back corners.  They are everywhere in this little town.

The gradient - each line represents 1km. It goes up noticeably every 7kms.
The gradient – each line represents 1km. It goes up noticeably every 7kms.

The Gradient of Point to Pinnacle

On Sunday it’s Point to Pinnacle but none of us will be there.  We’re having  a year off from this wonderful event.  It was while training for our first P2P back in 2013 that we learnt about hill repeats.   We had thought that in order to train for what’s known as The World’s Toughest Half Marathon – 21.4kms of up going from sea level to 2170m in altitude – we would have to find a steep long hill, as in run up mountains!  Not so, said Coach.  To be P2P-ready we needed to run up and down hills; run up and down hills a lot!

Why hill repeats?  Definitely for P2P training, but why keep doing them regardless of what event is on the horizon?


A Deloraine hill we love to repeat

Here’s why this Unsporty Woman does hill repeats:

  • They keep me prepared for hill running: no incline is too tough when each week hill repeats are part of the training.
  • They act like sprint training: I’m not so good at sprinting, I get tired and dare I say a bit lazy – but with a hill it’s a question of running until I get to the top, I just have to keep going no matter what.
  • To get up a steep hill requires maximum effort, I have to put in: My heart rate goes up and my fitness level is increased. Running on the flat doesn’t do this for me like a hill does.
  • Hills build my mental toughness: hill running makes me feel confident and strong, when I get to a hill in an event I’m ready for it. It’s a hill, big deal! I just need to get to the top and over it.
  • A hill workout has its tough parts and its easy parts: Louie and I run up and can’t talk (this is the hard part), we puff at the top, then slowly walk and run back down where we have a chat (the easy part or recovery). Our sessions are usually 30 minutes, so it’s a lovely short session mixed in with all our longer ones. It feels good to have a lighter time session that provides maximum training benefit.

We do hills every week.  We love them.  We really do!  It’s all about attitude or Hillitude as Shaz has coined it.  During my first P2P training I decided to celebrate every hill I ran up.  Like an idiot I’d get to the top, throw my arms in the air and say I did it!  I got funny looks from fellow runners, from passers-by and even from my husband initially.  But it worked.  I now think of every hill as a celebration of fitness.  It works towards my fitness but it also means that if I can run up a hill I am fit and strong.  What’s not to love about hills and hill repeats?  Nothing!  They are awesome.


Nearly at the top of P2P 2013

Not sure about hill repeats?  Do some research and find out about the benefits and the different workouts that might benefit you.  But whatever you do please don’t shy away from hills.  Hill running has so much to offer us runners.  Unlock the hillitude in your heart and you too will love running hills.  You will feel mighty and strong and no hill will ever worry you again!  Go on, run up a hill or two or three or four or just find one and repeat!

To everyone running P2P on Sunday I wish you the best run.  I hope the weather is kind to you, that you love every moment and that you create some wonderful memories.  P2P will always be my Holy Grail of running events – I did it, therefore the door of possibility with running is so wide open it’s actually blasted off its hinges!  Anything is possible.  AND don’t forget that if I can run P2P then you can too!!!

Happy running 🙂

16 thoughts on “Hill repeats

  1. i used to avoid the hills like the plague… then the one day i felt brave i tried one, it was SillyHill (a long steep one just down the road from me) and when i got to the top i puked! I was MORTIFIED! Vowed id never do another one. Then by the time i got home it turned out a tummy bug was invading me… So a week later i thought well, that puke was a tummy… right, lets try this again… and i LOVED it! You are so right, getting tothe top and loving it is just THE BEST feeling!
    And you dear Anniebabes ans Shazpops motivated me… and now i prefer to run/walk a hilly route… i dont like the flat much at all!
    Will miss your P2P race report this year 🙂

  2. My head knows all of the benefits. Convincing my heart this is the best thing to do is always another matter. I continue to admire your positive attitude. 🙂

      1. I only ever really do hills if I go away. The tiny bumps on the map in the course of my usual run don’t count. Your running is sounding properly amazing – you rock, girl! xx

  3. Will you guys be doing the manvhorse again in 2016?
    I’m thinking of doing it and have been inspired by your posts.

    1. Hello Jason, that is lovely of you to say. Paul has registered. I’m going to wait and see how full registrations get – I’m pretty sure I couldn’t make it around in the cutoff time so don’t want to take the place of someone else, I’ll be a last minute registration. It was one of those events that have a magic feel like no other. I hope you get to do it! Please keep me posted.

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