A 10 Mile Long Run And Some Hill Running Tips For Beginner Runners
Today I managed a 10 mile hill run with my starting goal being to maintain a sub 10 minute mile average pace and cover a minimum of 200m of elevation gain.
I exceeded my expectations with a 9:58 min/mile average pace and 215m of elevation gain.
I’m a little disappointed in all honesty. I thought I’d be able to make it all the way up to the top of the hill, but I lost my concentration after encountering a gang of topless hoodlums making their way up the rural road.
They looked like they were on drugs and I didn’t want to hang around in case they got rapey, so I waved to them, found an appropriate place to turn back and sprinted back down past them with the words “See you later fuckers, enjoy your gang-fuck!” blaring in my head.
Tips For Hill Running If You’re Just Starting Out.
- Don’t panic when the going gets tough – If the gradient increases then it’s natural to worry that you’re gonna break down. Whenever I panic I speed up and that just makes it more difficult. Even today I lost my concentration and my breathing and I started accelerating. I recovered by breathing deeper and slowing down.
- Monitor your breathing – When you’re climbing a hill then your breathing will quickly become more rapid. If you get to the point where you can barely talk, then slow down and catch your breath.
- Measure your progress and be encouraged by it – I measure my progress based upon the total elevation gained. Today I managed 220m which is 100m than my average of 120 metres over a 10 mile run. Over the first few months of 2013 I’d been increasing my hill running gradually from 100m to 120m per run and I could notice myself becoming stronger on each run. I’d seek out the hills knowing that it would make me stronger still.
- Run hills evenly – Put the same amount of effort on going down the hill as you did going up the hill. A common mistake is to think you’re fucking Rambo when you hit a downhill stretch of an undulating course and tire yourself out for the rest of the run. I did this in my first half marathon thinking that the momentum from the downhill stretch would carry me through. I hit the wall at mile 11 and had to walk most of the rest of the race.
- Focus on the positives of hill running – For every 1m you run vertically you are making running on flat that little bit easier for your body. You are also conditioning your body for more efficient hill running in the future. If you’re overwhelmed by how difficult hills seem now, know that it will become simpler over time. Every metre gained makes a difference.
- If you have a Garmin Forerunner GPS watch put elevation on as one of your data fields – You can select this in Settings > Run Settings > Data Fields. Being able to see the amount of elevation gained in a hill training session is invaluable.
- If you’re starting out, try progressive gradients rather than steep hills – I was terrified of hill work as I took on mountains before I could even manage hills. The key to getting better at anything is through practice and to start with you’ll only be able to manage a little bit of the hills. Over time your body and mind will become more conditioned to the hill running and you’ll begin to enjoy it as it gets easier.
- “But I’m not a hill runner!” – It’s natural to be frightened of the unknown. If you’re used to running on flat terrain and struggle with it, then you’ll think “how the fuck can I possibly run on the hills?”. The truth is that anyone can run hills and most of it is mental at the beginning. Give it a try and you’ll surprise yourself.
- Don’t beat yourself up for slowing down on steeper stretches – It’s very difficult to maintain your average pace on an incline. Instead concentrate on maintaining a steady effort, knowing that you’ll be able to improve your pace a little on the downhill stretches.