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steep hill roadHow many times have you been out for a run and come to the bottom of a hill only to turn around and go a different way, or take the hill but at a pace that you are being overtaken by old ladies on walking frames?

Climbing hills is one of the hardest aspects of running and one that many runners avoid like the plague. Every now and then we may go for a hill training session and then pat ourselves on the back for how hard we have worked. Especially true if we are not training for a specific event.

I have been trying to change this in myself and although I have not been running new records in the last few weeks I think I am seeing some serious improvement.

“When I saw a hill, I ran, not away though, up the damn thing”

A few weeks ago I decided to do a small hill training session. I had been feeling slugish so I needed something to kick my butt back into gear. Off down the road I jogged, a kilometre or so to Western Park, a small park in Auckland that is all on a steep hill.

I jogged down to the bottom and then turned the corner to run as fast as I could up the hill on one side of the park. About forty metres in I gave up the sprint. I must have looked like someone just took my space helmet off as I struggled for breath. I set my marker (about 150m up the hill) and jogged down to the bottom for another attempt. It took me 4 attempts and a lot of hard work to push to that marker in one long sprint. My chest was thumping, legs were burning and mouth was gapped open like a blow up doll as I struggled for air but I decided to go back and did it one more time for good measure.

Suffice to save I struggled home and laid down in a heap. What a great run!

On my next run I was heading home and was at about 10km, it had been a flat run though. As I ran past the top of Western Park I thought, “hang on I should go take that hill again”. Guess what, I ran to my marker first time but nearly collapsed from my steller effort!

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The next few runs I started hitting hills with enthusiasm and grind. When I saw a hill, I ran, not away though, up the damn thing at a steady to fast pace

Fast-forward to last Tuesday and my club run with Auckland Joggers. We went for a steady but not killer 13.5km run. We hit a few hills as you often do in Auckland and very few of them really hurt me like they normally do. I even sprinted up the short but very steepest of them all!

Dont shy away, take all your effort, keep your pace and run up those hills no matter how much it hurts.

If you need anymore motivation I challenge you not to want to run up every hill and every set of steps after watching this legendary scene!

I’d love to have your take on this.

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When I can be I am a regular runner but I am also nothing special and certainly no elite, so in that respect I am regular too. However I do love talking about running and related things and I do have a lot of experience, over 15 years now.

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