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Melbourne Hill Runs

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by Courtney Symes (subscribe)
Courtney is a freelance fashion, art and design writer and content creator for - an online boutique specialising in quality gifts for men. Read more of Courtney’s work at
Published August 20th 2010
Since registering for the half marathon distance for the Melbourne Marathon in October, I have been steadily increasing my long runs. However, building up mileage is not just about running as far as you can. Variety in training that encompasses hill and interval sessions as well as long runs will challenge your body and engage your mind.

Hill running increases endurance, whilst offering diversity to your training schedule. With a little creativity, the intensity of hill runs can be adapted, depending on where you are at with your running.

My favourite hill run at the moment is the 400 metre schlep up Anderson St (along the East side of the Botanical Gardens), where the steepest part finishes just after Melbourne Girls Grammar School. To get the most out of this hill, aim for five or more reps up and down (utilising the downhill section for recovery). This run can be done as a solo training session or linked in as part of a longer run to increase stamina. Warm up and cool down with a gentle jog along the Tan Track before and after the hill reps. The steep, winding footpath on the inside of the Botanical Gardens (up the same hill) offers a challenging alternative route.

1. Avoid this hill during peak times:
Before 8am when most of Melbourne are training on it and Melbourne Girls Grammar students are being dropped off
After 5pm when anyone left in Melbourne who didn't train in the morning uses the Tan.
After a game at The G when everyone is trying to get home - forget about it!

2. Bubblers inside the gardens provide welcome re-hydration and respite.

3. Focus on the path directly in front of you, rather than looking up at the top of the hill. Focusing on one step at a time is less overwhelming.

Other hills worth a look are Clarendon Street on the Eastern side of Fitzroy Gardens (about 600 metres long) and Wellington Parade South (South of Fitzroy Gardens).
Note: I am not a personal trainer. My advice is based on experiences of what I have enjoyed and what has felt right for me. Running should be challenging, but hopefully enjoyable, especially as you improve and start to see results. Experience has also taught me the hard way that rest days are as important as training days. Therefore, if it hurts, don't do it. Pushing too hard (without adequate training) usually results in injury so please, safety first people. Only you know what is right for you.

Runners World UK website is a great training reference with a wealth of information for subscribers as well as non-subscribers to the magazine. The Runners World half marathon training schedule can be adapted to your goal time and also paired with a Garmin running watch.
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Why? Because you know that exercise is good for you and the Melbourne Marathon is not too far away.
When: Melbourne Marathon, Sunday 10th October 2010
Cost: A supportive pair of running shoes (ideally recommended for your running style by a professional).
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