I remember it like it was yesterday, standing there looking up and thinking to myself that it was A LONG way! What if I fell? What if people saw me struggle? What if I couldn’t make it? These are all questions that go through your mind when you prepare yourself for a set of Hill Sprints, but there is one question that trumps all of the others… What if I don’t try? Now this is the biggie, the one that we all must answer… What if I don’t try? Well, nobody on this Earth may ever know but you and that is EXACTLY why it matters! There is absolutely nothing wrong with experiencing the feeling of exhaustion, that moment of give, but there certainly is something wrong with NOT trying!
This is exactly why I absolutely LOVE Hill Sprints; There is something very spiritual about finding a brutal Hill and forcing your body upward to the point of failure and beyond! There is something very Life altering about doing something that is so hard and then coming back for more! Some of the hardest workouts I have ever had have involved Hills! Part of it is their simplistic nature… You find a steep, twisting, long, varying pitch Hill and you just SPRINT up it as fast as you can… Simple to describe? Yes? Easy to accomplish? No! They do amazing things on so many different levels; Want to improve your Conditioning, Speed, Strength, Fat Loss, Muscle Gain, Mental Toughness, Physical Toughness, Agility, Flexibility, etc…? Well… Do Hill Sprints!
They really can be done anywhere, but I find the best types to be dirt Hills, or trails that people would typically “Hike” up! Prepare yourself though, once you find a beauty like I described earlier you will either never want to return, or be addicted! Every time I take someone to run their first Hill Sprint, I always pay attention and watch the transformation that occurs before my eyes! The nervousness because of what they have heard, the excitement of trying something new, the thought that it doesn’t look that hard, the realization that it is VERY hard, the point of wanting to give in, the mental fortitude to push ahead, the puking, that falls, the trips, the getting back up for more, the feeling of utter exhaustion, the feeling of defeat, the humbling experience, and my favorite of all… The feeling of ACCOMPLISHMENT and the HUNGER to come back for more! You see Hill Sprints are a lot like a Battle; You win some, you lose some… But you never lose if you never give up!
I have a personal favorite Hill, you see it was one of the first I ever ventured on! When I first began playing Football, I read how Walter Payton had a Hill that he would regularly sprint up and well… If one of the greatest Running Backs of all time did it, then I had better start! I knew of all kinds of Hills because I rode my bike everywhere at the time and if I couldn’t ride my bike up, I may as well SPRINT UP! That is exactly how I came upon “The Hill” as I like to call it! 20 years later and I have been back to Battle “The Hill” many times; I don’t always win, but I don’t always lose either, but I NEVER give up! What is the score? Well… The War is far from over and I don’t plan on giving up anytime soon :)
The next time you are looking to add something new to your Training or even just have a little fun, I suggest you go find yourself a Hill and prepare for WAR!!!
-Stay Strong; It’s more than Physical-
Derek M. Trombetta
Professional Firefighter, Fitness Coach, and Physique Athlete