One of my biggest challenges since I started running five months ago was, and still is, running uphill. Running in general is tough enough but throw in a hill or two and suddenly it becomes a lot tougher.
There is a hill on my usual run route and the sad fact about hills is that you can’t avoid them. Well, I could, but it would mean running an extra long route home…
The route I run at the moment is really picturesque. I run through the forest and near the beach but towards the end of the run I always start to feel sick – I come out onto a main road which immediately has a steep hill and I dread it every time. Not surprisingly, I have always walked this hill. Whether I was running a 3k, 5k or longer – there was no way I was running up that hill!
But when I invested in a book (Runner’s World Complete Guide to Women’s Running) I realised just how important hills are to training. The book (and many people who run) assures you that hill training is essential. Hills improve your strength and durability and – although at first slows your running down – it will eventually make you a faster runner. I know that a lot of keen runners must believe this whole-heartedly because I see so many people doing it. Lots of runners literally go up and down a hill for a training session, battling the steepness for an hour or so. Now, although I can’t imagine myself doing this anytime soon, I thought I should at least try to conquer a hill. And what better one to test out my running skills on than the one I face every time I want to go home!
I went out on a 5k run yesterday and made my way towards the dreaded hill. But I decided to attempt it, tackling the hill with a steady pace and not letting myself burn out in the first few minutes. Just when I thought I couldn’t continue, Eye of the Tiger came through my headphones. If ever I needed the Rocky soundtrack, it was then! It gave me the push I needed to make it up the hill. And although I certainly didn’t sprint up it, I got all the way to the top without stopping.
My next step is to practice the hill a few more times and then concentrate on improving my pace. But this milestone was definitely something I’m glad I have achieved. I know the half marathon route I am due to run in October has an even steeper hill so with a bit more hill training here’s hoping my feet don’t let me down.