“I reach the crest of the steep hill oblivious to everything except the pounding in my temples and the battle between body and mind; one screaming “stop” the other willing a few more moments of effort. Relief, when it comes is temporary; I grasp my knees, bent double and suck in great lungfuls of air waiting for the drum in my head to quieten. A few moments later I begin jogging downhill, losing the hard won ascent, all the way down to where I began. I glance at my watch – 15 seconds left. All too soon it is time to turn and repeat the climb and I am once more enveloped in my own little bubble of pain.”
I am half way through a hill rep session (In order to get good at running up hills you need to do some training which involves…. running up hills) playing mind games trying to block out the thought of another 10 minutes of hurt.
My favourite (can you have a favourite type of pain?) session involves four repetitions up an increasingly steep 750 metre hill with jog down recovery. The aim is to be consistent, i.e. all reps should take the same time give or take a few seconds.
4 x 750m with 4 min 30 sec jog down recovery.
Splits: 4.55, 4.59, 4.59, 4.48 (I mustn’t have been working hard enough in the first three!)
Graph shows heart rate during each rep. Heart rate at the end of each climb is 97 – 99% max. (Data collected with Garmin 910XT and uploaded onto SportTracks software.)
The bottom line? Hill reps hurt!