As one of my client’s 5 year old has stated “think of the hills as rainbows, Mommy”. Truly, hills are your best opportunity at creating excellent fitness; no frills, no fanfare, no glory. Just you and the hill and the occasional wildlife to keep you company. In fact, it can be down right meditative; listening to your breathing, feeling your heartbeat, and calming your thoughts as you begin to doubt whether or not you should be doing this workout. That’s the good news! The bad news is that most people will never experience this and never reach their highest athletic potential. And even worse, they will never know themselves. If you don’t know who you are as an athlete in training then you will never know who you are in races so setting goals is practically impossible and unrealistic.
The essence of hill work is to create speed thru strength building and patience. Climbing hills, whether it is running or cycling builds tremendous core strength to your body. Regarding patience, slow down while climbing and let the hill teach you and build you up. This will take time (at least in your mind) but this is the fastest way to become a better, stronger and faster athlete. Most people don’t have the courage, the discipline and humility to face the training it takes to reach their goals. When in doubt, slow down. When in doubt, do more hills; and wait for the results. Even if you never did any speed workouts on the track for running or time trials for cycling you will still be faster when it comes to race time. So, please don’t believe me; go to the hills, put in the work, and relish in the knowledge that your friends will wonder what you have been doing for the past two or three months to get so fast.