The hills!: Does everyone try to avoid hills... - Couch to 5K

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The hills!

Zany99 profile image

Does everyone try to avoid hills when they first start running?

I may even be exaggerating a little when I refer to these 'slight inclines' as hills, but I do find they sap my energy, and my jog reduces to barely more than a slow stagger when I encounter them, but as the distances increase i'm running out of flat routes!

Is there a good way to approach hills, I do try to plan a route so they come near the beginning of the run and not the end, but I would love to be able to just run wherever the fancy takes me, and not be obsessively working out how much further will I run in 28 minutes without encountering a hill at the end!

I have considered concentrating solely on hills for a week, but not sure if this would actually increase my stamina, are there any tips anyone can give me, or is this just a mental barrier I need to push through?

17 Replies

If you're just starting on the C25K, why not do the running bits downhill, and turn round and do the walking bits up again? I did this a bit (though I was in superflat Cambridgeshire, so it was easy to find flat roads …).

Craftysue66 profile image
Craftysue66Graduate in reply to useitorloseit

Yep. I now run on the treadmill while I develop my stamina as this is gentler of my joints and keeps my pace under control. Once I've graduated I will start to run outside again and be more ambitious but didn't want to risk not being able to comlete the programme as this was important to me psychologically. Don't have to worry about traffic on a tradmill either as I don't have a local park to run in

UnfitNoMore profile image

Yes, I have found a park that’s pretty much flat and I run 2 runs out of three... to go right round it would be about two miles so I’m happy there for a while. My other route is tiny and a circuit is less than 400m. It’s also on a slope. I use this one when I run with my daughter and we go opposite ways round. Can’t see me using this one much longer though as it gets a little monotonous.

Hills do build speed and stamina and will certainly not hurt your running long term, the mission we are on is to get to those 30 minute runs though, so I’m avoiding any steep inclines and the long gradual ones that o started this programme on, for now.

Unfortunately i live in the middle of a hill, so either have to start off uphill and make my way gradually downhill....or start downhill and then hate myself for having to come all the way home uphill!

I find if you cant avoid them, embrace them....just try and remember how you felt last time running up the hill, and try and beat that feeling!

davelinks profile image

It's best to avoid any hills if you can when doing c25k, they will make it so much harder for you, if you really can't then learn to embrace them, they will really benefit you for stamina building, a slow stagger is fine, the slower the better... Yes, if it's just a mental barrier and physically no pain then push on through..

Zany99 profile image
Zany99Graduate in reply to davelinks

Good advice, no pain, just a voice in my head saying you need to walk this bit! And I have definitely mastered the slow stagger!

Montymum profile image

My usual route gives me the option of dead flat or a path with "ups and downs"! For the first few weeks I stuck to the flat but by about week 4 I used the path. Now, I can honestly say I positively enjoy the feeling of "what goes up must come down" ☺. Just don't let anything put you off. Wait till you feel ready.

Zany99 profile image
Zany99Graduate in reply to Montymum

Thanks, good advice, think it may be a while before I can enjoy the hills, but good to know it does get better.

I found myself doing the route calculation too, to avoid running up hills (that actually look like slight inclines but are really energy sapping).

I just slow up on them now, as I don't think I can avoid them. But each week, the change in pace is less than the week before - and I find that very pleasing

Zany99 profile image

Thanks, I must admit I do slow right down on the "hills" so i'm probably only just technically 'jogging' but I still find them a real challenge, hopefully will get better over time!

Rustybucket profile image

Yes I did and I had slight inclines as hills too. I kept running the flat route but I did get tired/bored of it and actually found when I tried my new route with its hills/inclines the change of scene and route actually made the run feel better. I was given a couple of tips: hold your head up, don’t look at the ground and do smaller steps; I can still feel tired after my hill but the more I have done them the less I worry about them. Good Luck 😊

Zany99 profile image
Zany99Graduate in reply to Rustybucket

Thanks, I will try smaller steps, and i'm definitely looking at the ground, so will try to avoid that too!

Pete1w profile image

I avoided anything closely resembling a hill up to week 4. I used to drive to a local park which is totally flat a run around the lake. I'm still not a fan but I live in Sheffield which is basically just one huge hill in any direction....

Big_maz profile image
Big_maz in reply to Pete1w

I know what you mean I live in Sheffield grrr

I avoid them like the plague! I also take my stout strong collie cross with me. I think he may have contributed to the odd yank up a tough hill!

Zany99 profile image

I do take my dog sometimes, he's big enough to give a helping hand (German Shepherd) but he does too many pit stops to have a steady run, and has a habit of trying to take off after any squirrels we meet!

sHAYM4N profile image

yeah hills are my nemesis! on a flat or downhill feel like I could actually run for miles sometimes, but hills just take so much out of me.

Before starting CT5K again I actually was running just downhill at one point :D Have a 4.5 mile route through the woods and fields that I was taking the dog, I started running just the downhill bits added flats, and then a few hills to it, but ended up going over on my ankle, so went back to CT5K as it seemed a lot safer! The route I'm doing now does have a few inclines and will have more when I have to extend it, but going to have to tackle them to get the stamina I guess. I just find them a bit more of a mental challenge because it feels like a lot more hard work and I'm going a lot slower. Also throws my breathing out of whack when I get to the top of one.

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