Fun Run Preparation – Hill Work

10 July 2016, Fun Run Prep Tips – It’s time to embrace hills. I personally have a love hate relationship with hill work, and with races like the City2Surf they really need to become an important part of your fun run race preparation.

The City 2 Surf has lots of gradual inclines and also some very steep hill climbs like the famous Heartbreak Hill. I’ve had a lot of people confuse the earlier gradual inclines in the race around Kings Cross and Double Bay for mini heartbreak hills, but trust me if you have never run this route, the actual ‘heartbreak hill’ stretch really lives up to it’s namesake and just when you think it’s over it gradually wraps around streets at the top on another gradual incline continuing to test you – it’s almost a never ending hill climb.

You want to avoid walking up heartbreak hill, as it’s such a killer on the achilles (lower backs of your ankles) due to the gradient. Once piece of great advice I was given from a runner friend before I ran the whole way in my first City 2 Surf was to slowly run at a shuffle pace up heartbreak hill because you will still be overtaking all the walkers and be able to attack the hill on your toes instead of putting pressure on that achilles area.

So how do you prepare for all those hills? Well, you need to start running hills of course!

  1. Embrace hill work as a challenge, working them into your weekly training regime at least once a week.
  2. Try for slow hill repeats, followed by sprint hill repeats
  3. Start with sets of 5 to start, then slowly add more sets from week to week increasing to sets of 10  – 1 slow, 1 fast and on occasion you can mix it up with 2 fast, 1 slow
  4. Over weeks of training you can start adding in additional exercised at the top and bottom of the hill – try for plyometric (jump) training for an extra challenge, things like juping lunges, jump squats, burpees
  5. Mix up your routine and add half a hill lap of frog jumps from the base of the hill and then power into a sprint halfway through. This will really help test your leg power

The other thing I absolutely recommend is becoming familiar with the run course so you are mentally prepared for where the hills are, the distances they go for and just how long and steep heartbreak hill is in particular – plus the familiarity of how far away the finish line is, always helps you prepare for the race in your head.

Whatever you do – make sure you work in ‘hill training’ to your fun run preparation. Your body will be so much more prepared and you will be able to attack the race with so much more confidence feeling like you have truly conquered the challenge.

Enjoy your training! Best wishes, health and happiness always, Di xo

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