If you hate hills, I feel your (calf, quad and hamstring) pain. I started running in the pancake-flat Chicago suburbs, so when I did my first hilly 5K in the northern Midwest, I thought I was going to pass out. In fact, when I finished I could barely walk.
I continued to struggle running uphill until I went on a mountain climbing expedition up Mount Rainier. It took us two days to summit and another half day to hike down. That’s when I had a light-blub moment—in order to reach the top of any hill, you have to accept the climb, slow down and find your rhythm. You must work with the terrain, not fight it.
Once I applied my mountain-climbing flow to my running, my relationship with hills completely changed. I knew that if I stayed in tune with my breath and my body, there was no hill too big or small that I couldn’t navigate efficiently.
Get Your Climb On
The Hilly 5K Training Plan is designed for runners who have a solid mileage base (20 miles per week) and have run a 5K before. If you aren’t quite up to that level, no worries, simply add the Green Hill (easiest) workout to your schedule once per week to start. After four weeks, you can gradually add more challenging workouts to the mix.