I Heart Hill Repeats

I know, I know.  Based on the title of this post, you now think I’m crazy.  And I get that.  Most runners don’t really like hill repeats.  They don’t typically include them in their workout routine.  But you know what?  I LOVE hill repeats, and I’m not afraid to say it.

Hill repeats make me feel like a badass.  They make me stronger.  They make me faster.  They make me feel like a runner.  And they’re a great metaphor for life.  Yes, the uphills suck.  They hurt.  They’re hard.  Looking up that hill, it can seem to go on forever.  Your lungs are burning and you don’t know how much more you can take.  But after the uphill, you get the down.  You can relax, cruise, speed along.  The downhill is so much fun, you can actually forget how sucky the uphill was.  And that’s life–you take the good with the bad, the up with the down.  That’s how it goes.

Photo Jul 29, 5 45 32 AMYesterday, I ran hill repeats on Battery Street.  I’ve talked about this hill before.  It’s kind of a doozy.  Usually, I run here in the mornings, because it can be a zoo in the evenings, with tourists and cyclists clogging up the sidewalk.  But I went last night at about 5, and lo and behold, I’m not the only runner going up and down, up and down.  There’s another woman running hill repeats.

She’s faster than me–skimming up the hill, lightly touching down, almost flying UPHILL.  She’s leaner than me–she looks like a runner.  She’s going further than me–up the hill, into the park, and back around and down.  And here’s the kicker–she’s older than me.  Significantly older.  At least 50, maybe even 60.  And she is freaking FIT!  She’s a boss.

For about 2 minutes, as I was huffing and puffing up that hill, I started feeling really bad about myself.  I don’t look like a runner.  I’m not fast.  I’m not graceful.  I don’t skim;  I plod.  I suck.  I’m a horrible runner.   I started thinking that maybe I’d just cut this workout short and go home.  But then I turned around and hit the downhill.  My breathing eased up, and I got to thinking.

I am here.  I’m running hills.  I just started running a few months ago, but look at me!  It’s a bit of a miracle that I’m even doing this, running up and down this hill.  I could be sitting on my butt drinking a beer and playing Skyrim.  But I’m HERE, running UP and DOWN this beast of a hill.  I could be that lady some day.  If I keep doing what I’m doing, someday I’ll be that 50-something woman breezing uphill and leaving the 20-somethings in the dust.  YES!

And then I turned around and went back up the hill.  I finished my 5 hill repeats, and ran back home.  I even went an extra block just to hit 3 miles.  And I felt AMAZING.  Sweaty, exhausted, and blissful.  So thank you, mystery runner.  You have inspired me to stick with it, so that someday I can be as badass as you.

Photo Aug 19, 5 39 50 PM

How do you feel about hill repeats?


32 thoughts on “I Heart Hill Repeats

  1. runsaltrun says:

    This is awesome! I’ve never really set out to do hill repeats because my neighborhood is hilly and running around it is like one big hill repeat. But I do have a pretty monster hill near my house that I’ve become fond of running on (because I could never do it before and now I can so I like it!) and I was thinking of maybe trying some repeats on that next week when my legs are feeling a little less dead. I totally get what you mean about feeling badass. I love running on hills for that reason. 🙂

  2. veryrach says:

    Horray for hills!! I don’t necessarily LIKE hills, but I do like getting through them! You are right, they make you feel like such a badass. I love repeats too.. I usually do 120 yard sprints (not on hills) & those are hard enough! maybe I’ll mix some hill repeats in too now that I know they are a real thing : p

  3. kebe51 says:

    Way to kick ass and take names! I admittedly never run hill repeats because with the exception of the HILLS OF DOOM I don’t really have any near me. But I know what you mean. I kinda feel that way about my interval running for speed workouts. Good job!

    Oh, and your “slow” hills intervals is pretty darn fast for me! 🙂

  4. txa1265 says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome job!

    Hills can really be a confidence booster – I love doing them in our area as well! But one thing on mine is the descent is so steep that I really have to work to keep it under control!

    And I have to confess that as you described the older woman that I hope there are some 20-something kids looking at me that way … haha 🙂

  5. Amy says:

    Nice job! I’m glad you hung in there even though seeing that woman messed with your head. I get like that, too.

    I did hill repeats last summer, but don’t anymore. I feel like there are enough hills around here that I get in some good practice without specific hill workouts. The repeats last year helped my confidence on hills and now I no longer avoid hilly routes. Sometimes (surprisingly often) I even seek them out.

  6. greenmountainlife says:

    I like hill repeats but I don’t do them nearly as much as I should. When I lived in Knoxville it was basically all hills so I found myself doing a lot of track/treadmill work to avoid them. Now when I’m on a run I sort of embrace them and force myself to take routes with a few of them. Battery Street Bad Ass indeed!

  7. Erica says:

    I love them too! People think I am crazy, but I love hills! They are a challenge, they are rewarding and they make you feel awesome. I don’t know why but I run faster uphill then I do on flat. There is no feeling like mastering a hill, such an accomplishment. I even challenged myself by signing up for a 10k hill run, it is in the country and they are MONSTERS, but I am so excited!

  8. dgobs says:

    This is great! I would have felt discouraged comparing myself to that badass older runner, but way to turn that feeling on its head!! I haven’t gotten around to doing hill repeats yet, but I know I should. I’m probably going to hate them but I’ll try to keep your positive, if-I-keep-doing-this-I’ll-be-that-badass-older-runner attitude! 🙂

  9. piratebobcat says:

    Awesome!!!! I”m with you! I secretly love hill repeats too. I used to haaaate them. But now I do them ‘for fun’. I did them this past week. yes, they hurt, yes they’re going to leave you sore, but yes, we NEED to do them if we want to have a good result come race day!

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