Good Nudge!

Thanks and a tip of the barefoot hat to my friend Jason A., who, in his comment to yesterday’s post, nudged me towards doing hill repeats today, rather than my usual LSD run.

It’s a been a good long while since I’ve done a hill repeat session. Though I like them when I’m doing them, I tend to shy away from the work involved in deliberately running up and down hills, just for the sake of getting stronger. I’m a lazy runner, and am almost always content to run long, slow distances rather than train hard. I’ve only recently made my peace with running actual races, and then only by means employing a kind of mental subterfuge (arguing that I’m really only doing them because of their entertainment value).

But I digress. Hill repeats are good for runners, because they make us stronger. Stronger physically, and stronger mentally. Jason reminded me of that in his comment yesterday, but, being the gentleman that he is, kindly refrained from noting that I would be a stronger, more competent, and perhaps faster runner if I were take up hill repeats again.

So, today, I did the hill repeat thing.

My neighbourhood not being known for its hilly terrain, I use a small highway overpass nearby when the urge to run hills seizes me. So, shortly after mid-day today, I ran a 3.5K warmup, at a brisk pace, to the overpass, and then ran six hills of about half a kilometer and a 6% grade each, at the same brisk pace. The goal, according to those who set the guidelines for this sort of thing, is that, at the top of each hill, one’s breath should be laboured and one’s legs should feel heavy. Well, laboured and heavy were definitely there, and, by the time I finished the set of six, I felt well and truly knackered. But in a nice way, if you know what I mean.

Having done the deed, I then ran my 3.5K cooldown, at a decidedly relaxed pace. Arrived home, drank some Hammer HEED, had a shower, and realized that I felt good. Good to have done the hills, good to have mixed up my run schedule a bit, and good that perhaps I’m heading towards the “strong runner” thing.

And I have to admit that, for all my recent crowing about my “unstructured” approach to training, I really am in the process of training for the Dundas Cactus 10K on August 21. It just took Jason’s gentle nudge to make me realize it. ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Great post, Alan. I’ve been meaning to comment and applaud you for your decision to start mixing it up since the ‘Joy of Short Runs’ post. I’m a pretty lazy person who has never really cared for routine so, for me, making my running programme as varied as possible has been important. I’ve been actively seeking out local hills ever since a seasoned runner and good friend of mine told me to start adding hill work for exactly the reasons you describe. ‘Get a few hill reps in’, said he, ‘and watch your fitness shoot up’. That’s definitely true from an uphill perspective, but I’m also finding that dealing with the downhill is an interesting exercise in form adjustment and improvement.

    1. Thanks, Ape! You’ve strengthened my resolve to work a little harder at my running. “Watch your fitness shoot up” was all I needed to hear. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I’m certainly considering doing the Sarasota Half. The weather here in mid-March can be nasty, and it would nice to feel some heat.

      1. Oh, totally… it’s one of the runner hot spots in town. I just haven’t gotten over there yet. It’s part of the Sarasota Half Marathon, in fact.

  2. Great post, Alan. Sounds similar in effect to my speed work on the beach last Sunday… something different, exciting and new (come aboard… we’re expecting youuuu… oops, sorry)

    1. With all due respect, running on a beach in Florida is a little different than running over a suburban highway overpass. But I take your point. ๐Ÿ™‚

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