To hill and back …

[Originally published on Bristol Running Resource, 10/10/10]

I’ve been out and about this weekend, visiting the in-laws in south Wales. Managed to squeeze in a run this morning.

We ran north out of Beaufort on the road to Llangynidr. Within five minutes you’re into Powys and the Brecon Beacons National Park. You’ve got moorland, babbling streams, free roaming sheep and horses, and fantastic views from one of the highest points around. And given you’re tracing the (not particularly busy) B4560 you don’t have to go off-road to enjoy it – unless you want to.

An hour’s run basically involves running uphill for 30mins. Then turning around and running back down again. A pretty good workout.

That got me thinking about runners and hills. Anyone who runs any distance in Bristol can’t go far without finding themselves on terrain that’s less than flat. But do you love it or hate it?

Running hills is often considered to be strength and interval training in disguise. I always think that hills I’m including in my regular runs tells me a lot about how the training’s going. Whether I approach them with enthusiasm or trepidation tells me even more!

So I composed my personal top 10 list of ‘uphill bits’ of north Bristol as they feature in my training runs – in order of increasing difficulty. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Redland Hill
  2. The Promenade (plus the Observatory)
  3. Jacobs Wells Road
  4. Parrys Lane
  5. The zigzag path in Ashton Court
  6. Stoke Hill
  7. Bridge Valley Road (Clifton Down and on to the top of Blackboy Hill)
  8. From the towpath near Paradise Bottom, through Leigh Woods to North Road
  9. Nightingale Valley
  10. Offroad up Castle Hill to Blaise Castle

At the moment I’m feeling pretty positive about tackling Stoke Hill regularly. So things aren’t going too badly. But I know that I’m going to have to step up to something a little more challenging to move the training on. Something to look forward to!

Would any of my regular uphill routes make it into your top 10? Anywhere else you think I should be venturing for a change?

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