My husband always tells me that hills make me a stronger runner. I don’t always like to listen to his running advice, it makes too much sense! I learned something valuable on my run this afternoon. He was right! The hills that I run in my neighbourhood are very beneficial to my training.
Let’s be honest, hills are frustrating and for some reason I always seem to be running into the wind when I have to tackle one. By the time I get to the top of a hill my face is red and I’m breathing pretty hard. My pace is also slower, I don’t like being slower. But I run them anyways because of where I live. There are only hills here and some of them are big (I my opinion).
Today, I was working in the library at my daughter’s school and I really needed to get my long run in. I must to get up to the 10k mark and today had to be a long run, the rest of the week is just too busy. So, I mapped out my 7k route starting at the school. About halfway through I realized how much my hill running was paying off. Normally I run at a 6:30-6:45 minutes/km pace. Today I averaged 6:19 and that was after I hit a wall of dehydration at the 4k mark (my antibiotics were the culprit on that one). What was the difference? There were no hills on this route, it was relatively flat. Sure it wasn’t 100% flat, like running in The Netherlands, but it was pretty flat.
The other thing I learned about hills…I like them! They make the landscape more interesting, they break up the run. Running today almost seemed boring, it was almost not challenging. I struggle with writing that because the run was still a challenge, but it was just different, I can’t put it into words.
Hills are for training, I’m glad I’m surrounded by them where I live. Flat running is for races where I can then feel faster!!! If you run, find hills, you will hate them but you will learn to appreciate them.