26 September 2012

Fun with Hill Repeats :)

I have no memory of hill repeats ever being fun.

The first time I ever did hill repeats was in 1981 (for real). I was a freshman in college, and one of the bits of cross-training sadistic rowing coaches over the years have utilized has been the hill repeat. I think rowers do hill repeats a little differently than runners, though.

It seems to me that runners pick a hill of moderate grade that will take anywhere from 2-4 minutes to run up very briskly. They will warm up for approximately a mile or so, do their hill repeats, and then cool down for a mile or so.

Rowers, on the other hand, select a psychotically steep incline. It might be a 2-minute repeat...or it might be a 15-minute repeat. The length is unimportant. What is important is that you should either vomit or pass out at the top every time. Your descent should be dangerous in that you have very little control over how your body is operating.

This is why when I think "hill repeats" I get kind of nervous.

I have a family now.

If I puke and pass out and fall and stuff I still need to be able to take care of 4 little people...not just myself. The way I've been running hills lately doesn't spend me in that rower-running-hill-repeats way that is still vividly etched into my mind. Sure, I pick the hills like a rower, but I no longer run them like one.

Yesterday, my sexy shadow and I ran our first set of real hill repeats in 15 years.

I picked a runners hill...moderate incline and about 0.25-0.3 miles in length. It took me 2:45-2:50 to run it briskly each of the 4 times I managed. I did a mile and a quarter warm up and a mile cool down.

The view as one nears the top.

My first trip up, I passed a couple of cyclists. While I was feeling pretty studly as I closed in on them, the realization that they were an elderly couple stomped the "studly" right out of existence as I struggled to pass them. 

I didn't hate running this all that much. In fact, it was almost fun. But eating lunch an hour and fifteen minutes before was kind of a mistake :P I was hating the feeling of rice and beans and fish and salsa all sloshing around in my belly. And I was very grateful there was an unlocked public restroom at the foot of the hill. As I excitedly look forward to next week's set of hill repeats, I will keep reminding myself to time my lunch better!

Hill repeats...love 'em or hate 'em?


  1. I love all your sexy shadows! BTW, hills have their ups and downs -- ha ha -- can't say I love them, but they're unavoidable in the ATX

  2. You always inspire me to do something, and I. Should now by now to read your blog first thing in the morning, instead of the late afternoon when all energy has been spent for the day. Dinner will be the only other achievement today. You are still awesome though!

  3. Never done 'em! They sound fun. I kind of did like 4 "cool down" repeats once with the lake merrit joggers & striders after a track workout, but it was maybe a 20 second hill.

    The food in belly sloshing = why I am much happier running first thing out of bed. I can never time a run right once lunch has happened. Without farting a lot.

  4. Hahah i used to hate hill repeats in HS, but now they are kind of satisfying. Although, it's hard to find a good hill in NYC these days (especially with a view at the top like yours!)

  5. I do repeats on this tiny, short little "hill" - it's really the side of a levee! - by my house. IT IS OUR ONLY HILL. It takes me 12 seconds to sprint up the entire thing, including the low, shallow part. Pitiful. This is why I'lll never ever be a great runner.

  6. Your line about feeling good until you saw who you were passing made me laugh. That would so happen to me!

  7. Huh. I kinda think I've been doing your rower's style of hill repeats which would explain why i hate them so much. I'm thinking of giving your new version a shot. Sounds much more enjoyable :)

  8. I like hill repeats....after I'm finished with them!

    I still think you're studly for passing those cyclists....It reminds me of this one time when I was babysitting in high school (you know this one time at band camp) and the boys and I were biking to Taco Bell (yes, I was an exciting sitter). The little boy couldn't bike very fast and his big brother got really frustrated with him. Then the most embarrassing thing happened: a runner passed us. I still remember Ben looking contemptuously at Leo and saying it: "A *runner* passed us."

  9. Nice work on the repeats!

    I have a love/hate relationship with 'em. I hate hill repeats while I'm doing them, but I love that they make me a better runner. (And the pain is only temporary, right?)

  10. You lie!! You might not really do repeats but you do that Moser (spelling!?) hill all the time...you don't have to repeat that thing it's like 10 repeats!! :)

  11. Hate them! And any other form of repeats for that matter. Did repeats in 1997 for the last time. Now I just plod along for distance.:) Keep it going!

  12. I LOVE hills...I ran hills this morning and felt such a buzz at the end. Repeats are less fun as they're automatically repetitive but hills are amazing!! I feel so badass at the end!!!


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