One of the most widely accepted go-to training sessions for runners across the world is the hill session. Now some of us (the Kenyans) can do this exceedingly well, others (the crazy northeners on their fells) do it pretty amazingly, and then some of us (me) know that hill training should be a staple dish in my running session menu, but DO NOT DO IT ENOUGH!!!
I was fortunate on Monday to see that All About Triathlon were hosting a hill training session just the other side of the hill from work.
Not only that, but it was coached by Katy Hewison, who is not only the current world duathlon champion (a title she hopes to retain next weekend) but also a former mountain goat as commonwealth up and downhill mountain running champ!
I know that a fair few of my future races are going to involve some changes in elevation, so I figured seeing as it was free, that I’d sign up for some tips so that I can make a real concerted effort to do some more hill training.
Given the close proximity to work I got changed in the loos and ran up and over the hill that the school is perched on and down into Peaslake before meeting the rest of the trainees at the Walking Bottom carpark.
Once every one was there, we went on a short warm up in the woods – which by the way, I am so excited to run around more now that I have discovered the beauty available to me just up the road from work.
After a lovely warm up jog Katie took us through some leg drills focussing on form, getting onto the balls of our feet, and pulling the leg through with the hip-flexors. Oh and the most important bit was to make us look a little silly :-)
And then it was time, we could put it off no longer, we were going to have to run up that hill.
The hill in question was a nasty little bugger with some loose rocks, lots of tree roots and a leg sapping gradient. Thankfully it was relatively short – about 0.08miles according to the GPS – but it was plenty long enough when we had to run continuosly up and down it for 20 minutes.
Katy stood on the middle of the hill given tips, advice and encouragement as we went past. To start with I was taking steps that were too big (though it didn’t feel it), and I needed to use gravity to help me forwards a little more than I was. We crested the hill and carried on for 10-15 metres before turning round, going back down and startng all over again. I managed 9 reps, and I was strugglng at the end, but I felt really good.
It was particularly nice to be able to run in a group, and although we were going at our own pace and not competing, having other people there meant that I was never going to wuss out before the session was over!
When it was finally over though, we jogged back to a nice slightly shallower hill and had two practice goes at running downhill at pace – it was a proper arms out ‘weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’ kind of running! And that was it – time for home, some food, and a wash!
I had a blast. Thanks All About Tri. Oh, and how can I cancel my entry to ‘The Hurt’, because I’m a little bit scared about it now!!