Hill (s)training


Running hills are a pain in the butt for most of us and I’ll be damned if I would suddenly start doing hill repeats of any kind. In my world I have two choices: either make peace with walking all hills, always, or try to slowly trot to the top. Running hills, for me, is a contradiction in terms.

Admittedly I do walk most hills, especially the really steep ones. But as we know, hills make you strong so jogging up is definitely the better option. I will also acknowledge that the biggest gain in running hills is mental achievement, which in itself makes a massive difference in your perceived fitness levels.

As an average or slow runner, I’m as mentioned not in the market for hill repeats or hill training. I think you have to be able to run up a hill first before you can try to repeat it! If you can’t get up the blooming hill in the first place, how are you going to practise getting faster?

So here’s my 2cents worth of advice: the only way I can get myself up and over a hill is to just take it really really easy. Mimic the running action, but shorten your stride significantly. The aim is not to go out of breath or exert yourself to the point of no return. Use the same amount of effort as you would on the flat, keep your breathing and running rhythm the same, but progress s-l-o-w-l-y up the hill. When you get to the top, you should be able to continue running, while gradually increasing your stride length again to normal.

Hills should literally be taken in your stride. The confidence boost from getting to the top while still feeling okey, is phenomenal. Once you realise you can do it, hills are not so daunting and dreadful anymore. The key is to take it easy, really easy, even if it means running slower than what you could walk up a hill. The end result is you ran up the hill and didn’t succumb to walking. If you keep on doing this with every hill you encounter, it will automatically get easier! That I can vouch for, because hills are the necessary evil that makes you strong.

Now go out and tackle those hills head on with confidence. You can do it! 🙂


Ignorence is bliss – Norsewood to Takapau

Date: 12 July 2015

Distance: 21.1km

Time: 2:15.03

Previous: 2014

If it wasn’t for the fact that in my mind it wasn’t going to rain, we would probably not have driven all the way to Hawke’s Bay to do the Norsewood to Takapau fun run again. The last time we checked the weather forecast (the night before), the prediction was for a fine day, overcast and cool, but no rain. So blissfully unaware was I of the updated forecast overnight that I didn’t even bother to pack any wet weather gear!

You can only imagine my surprise then when we found ourselves amidst a drizzle/mist spray during our drive from Palmy to Norsewood. Worst is, our training was also a bit off the rails again – another week of only two training runs, due to bad weather and other unforeseen circumstances. The usual weekend long-run was looming and because of a change in work schedule we ended up having the day free. And what better way to spent a Sunday morning than with other runners/walkers on an event. It was meant to be. Continue reading

Shoe Clinic Wellington Half Marathon

Date: 5 July 2015

Distance: 21.1km

Time: 2:18.45

It’s been three months since our previous event. We took a couple of weeks off, travelled some, worked some more, winter rolled in, and with few events on the calendar as motivation or targets to work towards, we were very slack at trying to build up our fitness levels again. It’s not easy to get going again after a long lay off. I battled through every training run – the few we did manage to fit in between work and really crappy weather conditions.

Luckily the Wellington Half Marathon was on our calendar (not being ready for the 42 this time), forcing us to step out the door on occasions when you would much rather snuggle up in front of a fire. Unfortunately these occasions only happened few and far between, and for the most part laziness got the better of me. So with the minimum training and lots of trepidation, we headed south the night before. Friends had a house-warming party and what better way to carbo-load than with bubbly and pizza! Continue reading

Glorious mountains

What is it about mountains, majestically towering in the sky and often dusted with a layer of snow, that is so seductively irresistible? Whatever their attraction, I simply cannot avoid the urge to wander into the mountains. It’s like I’m gravitationally drawn towards them. Whenever I see a mountain, I get this uncontrollable need to go there, to be amongst the peaks, on the top, to be part of, even if its just a small blip in, their greatness.

On a recent business trip to Auckland, we decided to make a quick stop on the way back just off the Desert Road to wander towards Mt Ruapehu and the nearest hut, Waihohonu, on the Northern Circuit Great Walk Track.

The weather was miserable, it was raining and misty, completely covering the mountain. My only consolation was that I knew it was there, with Mt Ngauruhoe by its side. I could feel their presence. Walking on the wet and muddy footpath, I was again in awe of the vast network of trails that we have available. Everywhere you go, you’ll find some or other walkway.

We knew we were nearing the hut when we could smell the wood burning from the fire place. Reaching the hut after 5.5km, the sky was already turning darker, so without fussing about, we turned around as droves of trampers were making their way to the shelter and warmth of the hut. It can host 28 people and being a very popular great walk it is no surprise to get what looked like a full house on an arbitrary time of the month in the middle of the week.

We had a flashlight just in case we didn’t make it back in time, but luckily it wasn’t needed. It was terribly cold, windy and rainy and we never saw the mountain, but just knowing it was right next to me, was enough of a treat on the eve of my birthday.

Some pics of our 11km round trip: