First Hill Workout of the year!

Yeah, I don’t do hill workouts in the winter – not that I shouldn’t, it’s just that here in Ottawa, during the winter, hills are general covered in a good layer of ice ruts and the risk of injury is greater and while I can do a lot of nasty workouts on a treadmill, I haven’t yet been able to do a hill workout – it’s just too painful on a treadmill. And yes, I know, there hasn’t been snow here for a couple of months now so what’s my excuse for not scheduling in hill workouts up until today. Fine, you got me, I don’t like them and have just been avoiding adding them in.

For me, I generally do two kinds of hill workouts – Hill Sprints and Hill Repeats. If I’m able to get out with my team during the week for practice, we do Roller Coaster Runs. This is a great article describing them.

Regardless of the type, I start off with a 6k warm-up run along a river near my house…and the weather this morning was…well, basically how I imagine paradise…


This ends up being a loop and it finishes at the base of a hill that many runners in Ottawa know about and have a love-hate relationship with. And lucky me, all of my running routes take me up this hill at the end of the run.

Each time I’m at the bottom, ready to start, I think, “This hill really doesn’t look that steep…”


Then I run up it and turn around to come back down and think, “Yeah, this hill will do!!”


So today’s Hill Sprint workout was 10 sprints with a walk/light jog recovery back down. The hill (or the portion that I do – what you see in the pics) is about 100-150m and I run it at 5k pace (or faster) and then turn around and walk back down ensuring that when I start my next sprint up, I’m feeling recovered.  While the idea is to do it at 5k pace, I will often end up doing them faster. For all my hill and speed workouts my goal is to ensure that each interval is either the same pace or slightly faster than the last. If I start slowing down in the intervals, then I know I started out too fast and try to learn from it to do it better then next workout. This has really helped me become more in tuned with my own internal pacing.

So this morning, I did probably the first 6 sprints and was thinking, “Geez, this is not too bad”…Ha! Then by sprint 9 and 10 I felt like I was trying to use logs of wood as legs to run up! Was glad when it was done! 🙂

Do you do hill workouts?

Happy Monday!!!

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