I’ve seen hillwork described as “interval training in disguise”, and in terms of potential for sweat-drenched sweariness, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate comparison. Hillwork and interval training are the evil twins of the running world.
I’ve found a nice steepish hill close to home that’s about 0.2 miles long (and feels about 2 miles high by the time I crawl to the top). My weekly hill session usually look something like this:
- Blissfully flat warm-up jog for about a mile, finishing at the base of the hill.
- Run to the top as quickly as my little leggies can carry me.
- Slow jog back to the bottom.
- Repeat as many times as I can without falling over and/or crying.
- Okay, maybe cry a little bit.
Here comes the stats bit: At the moment I’m doing my ups in around 1:25 during which my HR peaks at around 170bpm (90% MHR). I take it nice and easy on the way down, which usually takes just over 2 minutes. by which time my HR is back down to around 135bpm (65% MHR). NB: All calculations are approximate and were worked out by someone as good at maths as he is at breathing underwater.
Hill sprints hurt, so I thought I’d share a couple of motivational tips with you…
- Put something at the top of the hill that you can’t leave behind. Depending on how safe the area is, this could be your car keys, jacket, gloves or infant son. If my wife is reading this, I would probably NEVER do the last one. By leaving something at the top of the hill, it means that when you get to the bottom you’ll always be motivated to bang out one more sprint to the top. Or just cut your losses and hope that it’ll still be there next week.
- When things get tough, rather than telling yourself “just one more rep” try instead saying “just two more reps”. I’m no psychologist1 but by moving the goalpost a little further away, you won’t find yourself dwelling on the pain of the moment quite so much.
- This one is more of a coping strategy than a motivational tip. It’s sods law that, while on your umpteenth downhill recovery jog, you’ll come face to face with a fellow runner who’s powering steadily up in the opposite direction. When this happens, you’re entirely within your rights to let them know that your sweaty near-death exhaustion isn’t just due to a gentle downhill jog, but rather because you’ve been doing what they’re currently doing, several times over and possibly faster. This can be abbreviated by thumping your chest and proclaiming “hill sprints, yaaarghhhhhh” or simply “me king of hill!”
Incidentally, if you look like death and have only done a gentle downhill jog, you can still use this.
Anyway, let’s finish with a nice graph…
1Or runner. Or (as that judge kept pointing out) a registered heart surgeon.
PS: Want more? Really? You’re a bit odd. Well, if you insist, you can have a look back through some old blog posts here at borntoplod.com. Most of them contain ducks. Alternatively, you can chase me round the playground that is twitter (@borntoplodblog) or pop over to Facebook and check out my page.