Hill Repeats

Photo: provided.

Here’s a fun fact: I’ve been avoiding my hill workouts this entire training cycle! Go ahead and call me a slacker – I’m a big girl, I can handle it – I also kind of deserve it because it’s true, for the most part anyways.

Here’s the story behind my nonchalant attitude towards hill training. I started this training cycle on Jan. 1, so for several weeks it was justifiably dangerous to try and run up or down a hill. Man, I could barely run in a straight line on an absolutely flat surface without slipping and almost bailing on a sidewalk. So, hill workouts were justifiably out of the picture. But then the snow melted and the ice underneath the snow melted and everyone could see the road again, to which, my reaction was, “let’s keep adding up all the 400m hill repeats into kilometres and go for a run on as flat of a route as possible!”

I figured that since I had made it so far into my training, and seeing success, without having done any hill workouts, then I was clearly doing something right. But then I started to consider whether doing those hill repeats would really be beneficial to my training. Unfortunately for me I’m an incredibly curious person and have already committed to the general torture of marathon training, so really, what is a set of hill repeats if not just another workout in the bag? So, I put my big girl shorts on and found a steep hill and ran up it.

Well, sort of. First, I went for a lovely, sunny warm up run along the lake and back to my hill where I did some very digestible hill repeats and then finished up with another run along the lake to cool down. Overall it was an enjoyable workout. It was just a different kind of pain than I have accustomed myself to feeling during (and after) my runs. Actually, I was kind of impressed that it didn’t feel like blood was coming up through my lungs and I was able to calm my breathing (relatively speaking) about 30 seconds after I reached the top of the hill. (Full disclosure, this hill wasn’t as long as it was “supposed” to be, according to my training plan, but it was rather steep, and I considered being out there a win already).

It’s almost comical what we put ourselves through mentally and physically during training. I have never groaned so much while sitting down or standing up in my entire life as I have in the last two-and-a-half months. Or just generally walking around, doing average things, like getting something from the fridge or sitting on the toilet. But damn if I’m not stronger for it. And I’ll be stronger for this hill workout. I’ll probably even do the next one that pops up in my schedule because now I know that that one thing I was making excuses for and was afraid of doing is actually not that bad at all.

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