As I write the sun is beating down on South West London, Mrs Dan is in her bikini lying on a sun lounger in the garden and I am virtually naked trying to stay cool. Note the word "virtually". I AM wearing shorts.....

Today was the first day of my running career where I changed routine and tried something brand spanking new. I had been reading about hill training and came across an article written by a chap in Lincolnshire who championed this method of training. Coincidently he used to live very near me and spoke in glowing terms of a hill in Richmond, which was perfect for this kind of torture! So I had a peek at Google maps and discovered the hill is only 2.5K away from my house.

"Aha!" I said (like Alan Partridge). "I can jog there on the morrow and partake in my first hill training session! Hurrah!"

The chap advised running up and down this lonnnnnnnnnggg hill 8 times for a good serious work out. "I'm up for that" I told myself and after a spiffingly top sleep, arose and clad myself in shorts and top. I decided to rise early to try and get this session done before Mr Sun put his hat and burned me to a crisp. Mrs Dan was getting ready to stomp about the lounge to Davina's super hard session work out DVD and after her saying "Have you got your phone? In case you need to call an ambulance!" - "Haha! Very funny sweetheart. I'm off. See ya later."

A nice comfortable jog for 2.5K along the river, over Richmond Bridge and up Petersham Road towards the Royal park soon brought me to my destination, the very soft and gently named "Nightingale Lane". But alas dear reader, she may have a soft and gentle name, but in fact she is one of those hills that hides a mean side. At the top of the below photo is a bend in the road which turns into a slope so steep, it gives The Eiger a run for it's money! Right. Here we go.

I started up the hill as slow as a snail, keeping my feet close to the ground, my head up and my back straight. Two Mums were chatting outside a house at the bend, where the slope turns into a mountain and I sweated upwards past them, wondering what they must be thinking of this oik, travelling slower than a sloth on mogadons on the hottest day of the year! The slope was so hard - I mean SOOOOO HARD, but I kept going and reached the summit.

"I did it!" I said to myself. I was so pleased, I felt like planting a flag at the top. I took a few seconds to get my breath back and set off back down the hill. The mums were still yabbering away and watched me saunter past with the brakes on to stop me from going too fast. This was as hard as going up the damned thing! I'd read (in my research) that you should imagine gravity pulling you downhill and not to over stride or over "brake," as this would leave muscles exhausted with lactic acid build up. Eventually I reached the bottom and took a swig from my water bottle. "Only another seven to go!" (yeeahhh right. I'd already decided that half that amount would be the best I could do). Off I went up again. Slowly. Very slowly. The damned mums were STILL yak yak yakking and looking at me witheringly as I "ran" past. If only they weren't talking at the bend which happened to be EXACTLY where the hill turns into a mountain. Anyway, I reached the top once again puffing, blowing and my shirt was absolutely soaked! Sweat ran down my face in riverlets, my lungs gasped taking in the air and my legs started their moaning ;

"Oi! Sh** for brains?"

I ignored them.

"Oi! Don't bloody ignore us. What the hell are you doing?"

"I told you. A spot of hill training. Only another down, up, down, up and down again"

"You taking the p**$?? Our muscles are cream crackered! One more up and down AND THAT'S IT!"

"Spoil sports"

"What you say?"


So down I went, slowly watching myself so as not to do any injury to my hips, glutes, shins and ankles. Guess who were STIIL THERE? Go on? Guess. ....... you guessed it THE YAK YAK YAKKERS FOR GREAT BRITAIN!!! They were really getting on my nerves now, but I tried to keep cool (metaphorically speaking). Reached the bottom, another swig from my bottle of water then the final climb. Up I went, ignored the chattering ladies and reached the summit for the final time. How that geezer on the article I'd read managed eight times up and down I don't know. Anyway it was time to run back down, then jog home (if my legs decided to work).

I did reach the bottom successfully and amazed myself when I managed to take off on the flat and jog home. Took a slight detour down to the riverside and ran under Richmond Bridge where I ran up the steps which lead back to the road. Over the bridge and back home along the Thames path where, when I reached my favourite lamp post, I'd realised not only had I done my first hill training session, I'd also ran 5K to boot! Get me!

I am sure tomorrow my bum and legs will be SCREAMING at me, but I have to say I really enjoyed it (despite the yabbering mums who looked at me strangely each time I passed.) Here's to stronger glutes and legs, so that I can chop some time off my 5K PB sometime in the future.

Thanks for reading!



Featured Content

Join the NHS Couch to 5K community

Couch to 5K has been designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just 9 weeks

Start today!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

25 Replies

  • Wow Mr Dan that sounded like bloody hard work, but good on you for sticking with it and dragging yourself up the Eiger.....didn't know Richmond was part of the Alps, but hey you learn something new everyday! No, I know I shouldn't laugh, but I did have a little titter at the conversation with your legs. Your a braver man than me, (and I'm not even a man)...as I haven't even thought about any hill training.....I'm too scared and now I'm terrified. Keep cool today, I'm downunder and huddled up to the gas fire with a fleecy blanket on my knees at the moment!

  • Thanks for your reply AmberC. How interesting to think of you the other side of the planet with a blanket over your knees to keep warm! And you should give hill training a go. It's a laugh!

  • A laugh! I can think of lots of other things that would be funnier.....although I may be tempted to give it a go....I have my first 5km fun run coming up next month, so it might help. I'm from Ealing, so know Richmond well, but next time I'm back I'll be going nowhere near that hill/mountain!

  • I also need to do some hill training as I accidentally signed up for a hilly 5k. Not looking forward to it. I can hear my muscles swearing at me already!! Glad all this hard work comes with an enormous sense of achievement! Well done :)

  • Thanks holbops!

  • That is a fantastic post mr dan! Hills are scary and you managed to tackle them in a heat wave! I take my hat off to you. I am not ready for hills.plus hills here are mountains, literally!

  • Ooooh where are you? Switzerland?

  • No Santiago - so surrounded by the andes

  • What a star you are, Dan! I can't imagine doing such a climb more than once! And in all the heat too. Be good to yourself and don't over do it or your legs may go on strike! Another excellent and inspiring post. Thank you :) :) :) Dan

  • Cheers Beek. I went early to try and avoid the 90F temps which we reached later in the day. I must say, three times was very do'able. Another up and down might've killed me!

  • So was it an inclinous friend or enemy?

    Is there a good reason why you chose the hottest day of the year so far to start your hill training? You really have got it bad!

    Well done our Dan - maybe those ladies were looking on in admiration.

  • I'd say "friendly". I didn't really think about the hottest day of the year to be honest. I knew I was going for a run regardless of the weather and today seemed like as good a day as any to start! One thing is certain - my muscles didn't take too long to warm up! And as for the ladies......they appeared to scowl more than look dreamy eyed.

    Although apparently scowling is the new dreamy!!! Hahaha!

  • Haha loved it Dan. There must be something really wrong with me cos for the first 6 months of running I avoided hills at all costs. Then I decided to map out a route in my lovely forest 800m loop 3 ups & 3 downs all sharp and steep too. I used to run in 3 loops and run back home 7K. Its my favourite training work out, what satisfaction I got from it. Once I get back out there my target is increase my loops. So Dan the man next hill session how many ups are you going to go for?!? ;) Well done on such a hot day though, drinks lots of water. :)

  • OldGirl you do EVERYTHING!! Fartlek training, hill training! Goodness me you're an inspiration in itself. I think my next sesh I'll do 4. Then increase each sesh by one I think and see how it goes.

    Phew! Hot innit?

  • I do none of it just now Dan I'm on the injury bench. And NO its not hot, its been cloudy here all day and only 16C :( we last managed an hour in the garden last week!!!!

  • Brilliant Dan. I live on a hill and my 5k route is all hills. There is one that sounds very similar to yours. I might just try running straight up and down it a few times but 8 sounds too rich for me...

  • Yeah, 8 up / downs seems hardcore doesn't it? I think the article I read was by one of these Ultra runners - the sort that runs for 100K for fun! Not for me. I guess tomorrow will be the day the stiffness kicks in......ibuprofen at the ready!

  • Sounds like a good run and a bit of a challenge on that hill! I'm hoping to run a local trail route which is a bit hilly this weekend. I've ride it on my mountain bike but looking forward to running it ;)

  • Ok, so you've finally flipped.

    A couple of years ago, before I dreamt of running, I saw a guy in running gear, timing himself running up and down the 85 steps from the town up to where I live. Thought he was bloody mad too!

  • Well impressed with your hills session. Good luck with the dancing dog tomorrow!!! Was gutted that while you were working so hard for C4 that I missed you at the Richmond Park parkrun - still I now love your course description cos I know what you are talking about.

  • Re "dancing dog" - THANKS! I'm gonna need it.....

    PArkrun this saturday is in the diary.......providing I'm not hungover.....

  • you are such an inspiration, me, well I am still a sedated slug avoiding anything resembling a slope !!

  • Well done Dan. I ran today too but it was so stupidly hot I wouldn't have tackled any serious hills. Those ladies probably thought you were casing the joint!

  • Well done, Dan - living up here in Derbyshire, it seems like it's all hills and I try desperately to find the flat bits. Never mind - chug back the ibuprofen, and I'm sure Mrs. Dan will appreciate your toned glutes after another sesh or two ;)

  • Mornin' Dan! Cor, this sounds like proper work! Can you walk today? With BOTH legs and BOTH bum cheeks operational??? I think it's fine to use anti-inflammatory's and ibuprofen at times to help training!

    I did have to check my reading .... that conversation you had with your legs? I thought at first it was the chattering women :-)

You may also like...