Hilly Running: I'm sure lots of people have the... - Couch to 5K

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Hilly Running

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate

I'm sure lots of people have the same dilemma as me. I'm attempting to work out routes and I've a choice of running from home, but with steep hills or driving for around half an hour to find flat bits ... or even running up and down the same flat bit of road. My question is, is it sensible to just run, and walk the steep bits or is that not good training for a half?

The OH is convinced the same flat bit of road is the answer for continuous running, but I think we must have different boredom thresholds!

:)

37 Replies

depends how hilly your Half is going to be. Unless you live in East Anglia it is going to be rare to find 13 completely flat miles in a race.

Hills are where the fun lies, anyway.

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to Rignold

That's true. It's not horribly hilly - it's Bath - but I'd love to be able to run from here eventually. And at least you get the downhills if you get the uphills :)

I just can't get over the feeling of being able to put my pumps on and just go.

roseabi profile image
roseabiAdministrator

Hill training is really good for you, doesn't matter how flat the race is, you will build strength, stamina, and speed!

Be careful, because running up hills puts strain on the hamstrings, calves, and Achilles tendons. Running down them again will pressurise other parts such as the quads and knees. But it's also the MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE STANDING UP!!! :D (nb don't fall over :) ).

Build up your hill training gradually, walking as you need to.

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to roseabi

Thank you for that - all useful info. Love the NB (you must have watched me running ... infinitely less likely to fall over without the varifocals it has to be said).

Right, I think I have a plan ... and I'll have to be quite strict on the 'need to' element of walking!

roseabi profile image
roseabiAdministrator in reply to Ffion2

Ha ha :D I have fallen over twice so far in my illustrious running career, I can't recommend it lowly enough ;)

Enjoy your training - half marathons are lovely fun!

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate

It's not just me then. My most spectacular was a swan dive from the top of a stile in Tideswell. The local GP glued my head and I had to apologise to the hotel for the state of the pillowcase the next morning ...

Thank you, I'm both excited and more than a bit nervous at the next stage of the journey, especially now that the lovely Jo Whiley won't be coming out to play any more. :)

roseabi profile image
roseabiAdministrator in reply to Ffion2

Ooh, Tideswell! Had my wedding party there :)

Stiles are well dodgy I reckon...

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to roseabi

They were very lovely in the doctors, didn't bat an eyelid. I quite like stiles, as a bit of a respite, but that one fought back. There was a very old lady walking an aged collie where I landed. She handed me a piece of kitchen roll to stop the dripping and said 'aye well, you need to be careful as you get older'. Maybe I wasn't looking at my best ...

roseabi profile image
roseabiAdministrator in reply to Ffion2

Ha! What a nice lady :)

There were a couple of stiles to climb over at the Beachy Head Marathon, which made us feel rather like someone was taking the mickey!

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to roseabi

Oh I love that! :)

Jododds profile image
Jododds in reply to Ffion2

Oh no, what’s happened to Jo Whiley? I love her help. Oops and sorry to hear about your head. 😬

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to Jododds

No, I meant she's not coming with me on my phone ... not that anything's happened to the poor lass!! I'm relying on my sturdy Garmin now - it's huge because I can't see much without my specs, and it doesn't cheer me on, but I'm getting used to it!

Bath Half is strangely flat actually. Misses almost all the hilly bits. Bath Running Festival on the other hand, is nothing but hills.

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate

There are some serious hilly bits in Bath! I think I'm relieved at the strangely flat ...

Millsie-J profile image
Millsie-JGraduate

My home area is surrounded by hills. So I run hills. Actually i only really notice real hills now, rather than every incline!

I would embrace the hills. But as roseabi says, build them slowly. So choose a route to do once a week for a while and run a little of each of the hills, then walk. Over time you will get a little further up the hills. BUT do not go all out up hill or you will may get an injury!

Be careful on the downhill too!

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to Millsie-J

Thanks, Jacs, that's timely information, as I'm quite likely to do a Forrest Gump and overdo things by attempting too much too soon. I'll pace myself. To be honest I think the hills will make things more interesting, and easier to do from home, if I can get the hang of them.

Isn't it exciting, this running caper. You never know what you'll end up being able to do unless you have a bash.

Millsie-J profile image
Millsie-JGraduate in reply to Ffion2

If you run hills, you can run anywhere. Enjoy!

The secret is reminding yourself it feels hard because it’s up hill. It can sometimes be easy to think ‘oh no, I cant run any more!’. It’s not you, it’s the hills😳

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to Millsie-J

That's brilliant advice - thank you. It's all to easy think it's me!!

-slowjogger profile image
-slowjoggerGraduate in reply to Millsie-J

I agree with being careful downhill - I find it as hard to control my wobbly legs downhill as I do trying to propel them uphill :D . Appropriate song that always makes me chuckle - Jackson 5 Blame it on The Boogie 'I just cant, I just cant, I just cant control my feet'..... :D

You could sign up for the Bath skyline series. They are great fun and a good mix of little hilly bits and flat sections. I might actually do them again myself this year.

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate

Ooo there's a thought. I'd never heard of them. The OH loves to go back to Bath and imagine things are still as they were when he was a student ... I'm sure he'd be up for being support team over there!

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator

I have a friend who just does not run up hills.

She will never have the satisfaction of reaching the top of that ******* of a hill that took you so long to conquer, will never build the stamina and strength that comes from taking up that challenge and as a consequence will never be able to run up a hill.

Hills are your best training tool. If at first you don't succeed......... then walk.........then try again. Even if your race is dead flat, hill training will improve your running.

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate

Thank you - that's a great way of looking at it. I'm determined I'm going to be able to do them - eventually - and then I can run where I want, rather than where I have to, if that makes sense. I started today, in a small way (walked most of a large hill but ran the last 100 metres). I'm determined to get there, but cautious about not doing too much too soon.

I don't have much choice as to whether I run hills or not - and I don't want to drive to a flat area so hills it is then 😀. The way I get up hills is to lean slightly forward, pump my arms upwards towards my shoulders, instead of forwards and backwards, and, important this, take small steps - works most of the time!

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to AnnieW55

I'm the same in the choice department. Even getting up the drive is worthy of crampon usage ... I'm going to do all of the above - and thank you for that :)

Nobbywatts profile image
NobbywattsGraduate

I hate running hills but I'll always have a go and invariably manage it. As Irish-John described it once, it's like pedalling a really tiny bicycle (totally get that analogy). If, on the other hand, I'm having a really crap day/run and my heart feels like it's going to explode, I walk the rest of the hill and don't beat myself up about it. As others have said though, there's no doubting it is good training. Go with the flow.

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to Nobbywatts

Haha, love the tiny bicycle, that's brilliant!

nikkiwabit profile image
nikkiwabitGraduate

The Race for Life a few days ago, proved to me that there are hills & hills. On wet grass with a camber in the sun & wrong music = walking. On path with no camber in the shade and right music = running and great feeling of success. So pick a hill, beat that one, then try another :)

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to nikkiwabit

Great advice ... I think I know which one I want to have a go at first! It would be so much easier to be able to run from home. :)

nikkiwabit profile image
nikkiwabitGraduate in reply to Ffion2

To me not having to go anywhere to do it is one (of the 2) of the advantages running has over swimming. Makes it easier to push yourself to go out on days you don't really feel like it.

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to nikkiwabit

That's very true. I'm hopeless at swimming - go off like a rat up a drainpipe, turn puce and have to totter out after two lengths. And you get too wet swimming ... Much easier to put your pumps on, tiptoe past the neighbours (to warm up, obvs) and run :)

nikkiwabit profile image
nikkiwabitGraduate in reply to Ffion2

I am afraid running will never beat swimming for me. I love that feeling of gliding through the water, I feel graceful, which is something I will never achieve on land. However the open water swimming season is coming to an end really and I have decisions of whether to do mornings and go to the lido or put up with indoors. To continue open water would mean going nearly every day to stay acclimatised :( and I would have trouble running as well.

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to nikkiwabit

Oh well done you - the OH used to do triathlons and absolutely loved open water swimming. I'm a total wuss with water - love the idea of swimming, but despair that I'll ever get the hang of it. Mind, he did gash his foot on a shopping trolley in the Ouse ...

nikkiwabit profile image
nikkiwabitGraduate in reply to Ffion2

oo nasty

mfamilias profile image
mfamiliasGraduate

When is your HM? Hills are excellent for stamina and strength. If your don't try, you'll never know - suck it & see, as they say.

Ffion2 profile image
Ffion2Graduate in reply to mfamilias

It's 4th March (a week before the big six oh birthday). I've decided to give the hills a bash, but not worry too much about having to walk bits ... it's just convincing myself not to walk at the drop of a hat then though.

mfamilias profile image
mfamiliasGraduate in reply to Ffion2

Ooh, same day as mine! A day before your birthday is brill timing :) Walking may be the key to it - I tried walking up a nasty hill on a trail run, and discovered that I was going the same speed as the lady running in front of me. The difference was at the top - I had recovered, and she was knackered.

I'm going to get some hill training in too. Happy training, Ffion!

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