Hollow Hills / Hollow Legs

Posted: 03/12/2012 in Uncategorized

“I’ve never really done much hill training, mainly because I don’t live near any hills” – Me!

It’s true, I live by the seaside, so it mostly flat and un-hilly in the extreme. I’ve made the occasional foray to the local country park to run up and down their hill, and it’s a cracker for a lad unused to the ups-and-downs of running.

I’ve been thinking about going over to the nearby Penshaw Monument for a while, to run up and down its slopes to the mighty Doric column’d folly on top. That hasn’t happened yet…

So on Friday I decided to try something a little closer to home and ran down to Tynemouth, where they are the proud owners of a brace of the finest hills, of the modern variety with both an ‘up’ and a ‘down’ mode of operation. Spoilt, eh?

It was only mildly worrying to see a pile of priests at the top of the hills* – maybe it’s an emergency Last Rites team, or perhaps they hope to save me before my legs drop off and I shuffle off the mortal coil? Ah, no, hang on, it’s the Street Pastors, which is like a groovy hip-hop vicar is as much as I know anything about it, which is not at all. Still scary though – in my weakened mid-run state I may be unable to avoid “chats about God” – not that there’s anything wrong with “chats about God”, just that I like to have my wits (and strength) about me at the start, all the better for the chatting and running away. As far as I can tell, me and Jesus are tight, and frankly I’ve got an open house for just about any deity that wants to pop ’round. Anyhow, this is all turning a bit spiritual, which wasn’t the idea, so off on other matters…

Wow, but hills are hard – fun, but hard. I ran three repeats, down the hills, turn around, run back up. Feel a bit knackered. The “bit” got more each time. After the second time I stood for a second to get my breath back. After the third (and final), I had to have a bit of a stumble about, which may have included some hands-on-hips-bent-double inhaling.

God it was good.

I ran back along the beach, which was lovely, and felt like I’d achieved something grand. Muscles hurt, and not in a sore-calf way, but in a using-new-muscles kind of way. Now that’s great – a new muscle to exercise doesn’t come along very often, and it’s worth a bit of attention.

So, I figure more hill run sessions are in order, especially as I think it will help out in spades come The Wall** in June. Reckon I might even shed another pound or two – I finally made it into the “healthy” category of BMI last week after a year and a bit and two and a half stone gone. That’s not bad, but I reckon I could stand to have a nice green buffer before I get back to the “overweight” category. I know it’s likely all a bit irrelevant, what with me being a card-carrying athlete and all, and therefore the BMI calculation mistaking my bulging (hahahaha) muscles for fat. But I’m a bit of a stat-geek, and so even though I don’t believe in it, I’m not going to ignore it…

Need some thicker running tights though – proper chilly it was. Allegedly Start Fitness*** are getting some in soon. Save me whatnots in the early morning chill.

*That’d be a descriptive use of ‘pile’, they weren’t all in a mound on top of each other, though in fairness I ran down the hill, no idea what they did once my back was turned

**And the other super-secret thing, but you don’t want to hear about that, do you?

***I shop mostly at the excellent Start Fitness – they’re grand people, and they stock More Mile, their own-brand, which makes up 90% of all my gear, being cheap and well made. Me and half the North East I reckon.

  1. Hill work will do you good. In a race you’ll be able to pass lots of people on the hills. It’s great fun!

  2. Thoroughly enjoying the hills, even if my calves are chalking up complaints. Feel like it’s overall doing me some good too. 🙂

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