Run to the hills

“…Run to the hills, run for your life …” – Iron maiden

The best iron maiden song says it all. Even if you don’t appreciate this great song. It holds all of the truth. Hill sprints are life changing and you need to do them.

They are difficult and they get you out of your comfort zone. It is possibly the best thing for getting not fat. One of the greatest NFL football players, Walter Payton was a big advocate of hill sprints. For developing the mind and the body and the magic of technology allows him to explain it himself.

Hill sprints have many benefits

·         Builds work capacity

·         Strengthens hamstings and glutes

·         Puts you in the optimal acceleration position

·         Builds mental toughness

 This is my hill, I call it Silent Hill. It's not too steep but its 160m long and filled with necessary suffering and growth.

This is my hill, I call it Silent Hill. It's not too steep but its 160m long and filled with necessary suffering and growth.

Some key points to look out for:

·         Start slowly

Make sure you warm up properly, going too hard too fast is a recipe for injury. Do some basic movement drills and some build up sprints. Start at 50%, then 60% and so on. So start slower. Do your first runs at 70-80% effort. Start with 5 sprints. After 3 sessions work up to all out sprints.

·         Recover enough

Use the walk down the hill to recover. It is a hill sprint so give yourself enough recovery to sprint up the hill each time. Walk slower if you need more time to recover.

·         Tracking progress

Give yourself a time block, start with 30min. after you warm up. Start a timer, sprint up the hill, walk down. Count the number of sprints you get done in 30 min. aim to increase this number, when you plateau. Increase the time to 45min.

The hard part about hill sprints is finding a good hill. When you're selecting a hill you can be technical and look at gradient, etc or just keep it simple. When I run up it am I sprinting, no? then its too steep. Yes? Then its good. Is the workout fun while you're doing it? Your hill is too short. Simple. Give yourself time to adjust to the sprints, if you haven’t sprinted in a while it will take time to adjust. Your strength work will take a dip during the adjustment. Give yourself time to adapt to the new training stress. Try to get in 1- 3 hill sprint sessions in per week. It will make you a better person!

by Llewellyn Morkel