Hill Reps Hurt

“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.”

Hill Reps

Working hard during hill reps

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.)

heart rate during hill reps

heart rate during hill reps

The bottom line? Hill reps hurt!

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 fell running guide logo

Fell Running – In Praise of Hills

Running in the Peak District involves hills!

..and thankfully I like running up them. From the longer climbs up Lose Hill and Win Hill, the zig-zags of Ringing Rodger and the heather bound flanks of Kinder’s northern edge to the short, sharp ascents of Carl’s Wark, Higger Tor and Stanage. The Peak District runner has a fantastic training ground to play in where hard efforts are rewarded with great views.
Here are a selection:

Above Ladybower
Climbing out of the Derwent Valley
Heading for those two
and another one
my favourite!…
…and its twin across the valley
on Ringing Rodger
suffering on Crowden
Summer or Winter, there’s fun to be had in them there hills!  The video shows a short climb onto Higger Tor:

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