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Conquering Heartbreak Hill

In just under 9 weeks I will be doing my yearly race in the City2Surf, for those of you who haven’t heard of this, it is a 14km race from the city to Bondi Beach and attracts numbers of up to 70k. The first year I ran this, I entered pretty late so started from the back, which pretty much meant I spent the entire race overtaking people but managed a respectable 66 minutes.

Last year was the first race I ran in Vibram Five Fingers, and to be honest my feet weren’t ready for it and ended up getting the dreaded top of the foot injury associated with barefoot running, I still managed to finish in 61 minutes though, knocking a good 5 minutes off my PB.

This year if I can avoid injury I’m expecting to do sub-60. In order to do so, I really need to make the most of the biggest advantage I have running in Vibrams which is the speed in which I can run down hills. For those of you who don’t know much about Vibrams or running barefoot, you land on the ball of your foot, this means that the heal doesn’t act as a break. I’d go as far to say it can be quite difficult to slow down (leaning backwards and shortening the stride even further is generally how I do it).

So if my big advantage is running downhill, why did my mate Yury and I run with speed up heartbreak hill (a hill over a km long which kills a lot of people’s races) on Sunday? The answer is simple, I’ve found that when I’m fatigued I find it really difficult to lift my feet back up so quick which essentially means I end up putting the breaks on myself and lose the advantage that I have when fresh downhills. The C2S also finishes with a nice long downhill into Bondi which I need to make the most of. Therefore, we’re aiming to run intervals up HBH and get the body used to being able to still continue at a fast pace after the exertions of the hill, not to mention the fitness benefits of doing intervals up such a hill.

We’ll probably do 3 or 4 more attempts at this before the race, I’ll post here with how we’re getting on.

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