I’ve discovered how to look forward to hill training!
You need Tony the Fridge…
As a trail runner, we love running in the hills and mountains, but going uphill is always going to be tougher than the other way around. The only way to get better at this is to practice, practice, practice, but getting one’s bottom out of the door to slog up a hill over and over again (especially if you live in the flat East Midlands!) is possibly harder than the training itself. 😉
The key is to think like Tony the Fridge. “Who?” I hear you say. Tony is a 49 year old grandfather from South Tyneside who runs marathons with a 42kg (6.6st) Smeg fridge strapped to his back. This year he’s doing 4 in 4 days starting with the London Marathon this April, RESPECT! I’d much rather do the approx 6 marathons in 6 days in Costa Rica that I’m training for, The Coastal Challenge 1-6 Feb.
I interviewed Tony the Fridge for Trail Running magazine a few years back, and one particular piece of advice from him has stuck to the inside of my head. “Make friends with the hill,” he told me in earnest, “rather than dreading it and railing against it, say hello to it, greet it as a mate, thank it for letting you run up it because it’s a privilege to be able to get outside and run.”
So I’ve found my local, friendly hill. I call him Tony the Hill. I love going to see him every Thursday morning for my uphill reps Power Hour on my training plan from coach Rory Coleman. Sometimes Tony the Hill rewards me with the most beautiful sunrise. The best was a shelf of bubbling cloud that almost passed for white mountainside in the distance (the ache of being so far away from the mountains in East Midlands makes your mind play tricks on you!). Sometimes he batters me with rain and wind at the top instead. But always, he rewards me with with the lights of my still-sleeping village below, a slowly awakening world of daylight, and the glorious feeling of having completed a hard session before breakfast.
Thank you Tony the Fridge, for acquainting me, indirectly, with Tony the Hill. I hope everyone reading this finds their hill friend and enjoys running up him or her on their next session. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it much, much more.