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
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?