What is it? Sprinting up a hill, on purpose, for fun, whichis weird.
How much does it cost? Unless you want to buy your own hill – which you don’t – they’re free.
What does it promise? Better speed, more power, better endurance, increased weight loss and the sort of intimidating mental grit one can only develop from sprinting up a hill on purpose for fun again and again.
What’s it actually like? It is my sincere belief that nobody really enjoys hill sprints. Because why would they? They hurt your legs. They burn your lungs. They make you feel as if you’ve never exercised before. And yet people still do hill sprints, because they’re really good for you. If you run at all, even recreationally, taking time out to power up a hill will usually have a quick and noticeable effect on your performance.
If you’re starting out, try sprinting up a moderate incline for about 10 seconds. Then walk back to your starting point – that’s your recovery time – and go at it again. After the waves of agony start to recede, find a steeper hill and run for a few seconds longer. Eventually you’ll find yourself tackling hills more easily, and running faster on the flat. It’s a miserable, thankless exercise to do, but it really does help; the thrill of passing uphill strugglers during a race far outweighs the pain of getting in shape.
Actually, I’m not sure that it does. I hate hill sprints.
Best and worst bit Best bit is, it works. Worst bit: I would rather stab myself in the eye with a dirty syringe than do them.
Is it worth it? If you must.