Running with Rhyno: Head for the hills

I made up some lame excuse to avoid running stairs with Amanda on Tuesday night.

So I couldn’t exactly say no the next day to hill repeats on Spruce Drive.

Hill repeats on Spruce Drive.

Fact: Anyone who has ever called himself or herself a runner has run up and down that long and winding hill on Spruce Drive.

Call it a rite of passage for runners in Red Deer.

Once a runner “gets serious” and decides to train for a race, they will often find themselves on this hill.

Groups from the Running Room and the Red Deer Runners bump elbows and hustle for space here on Wednesday nights.

Runner after runner goes up. Runner after runner goes down.

Most likely you have seen dozens of runners conquering the hill while you are waiting for the light to change at the bottom of the hill on 43rd Street.

We’re not crazy. I promise. There is a method to our madness.

It will be a rare occasion if you see me on Spruce Drive because there are a couple of hills that rival Spruce Drive’s best hill ever status close to where I live. (I’d tell you but I like to keep my hill to myself.)

Runners often dread hills, but I look at it this way – the more you put into the training, the more you will get out of it.

I don’t always enjoy hill repeats or running up steep hills but you will never hear me complain (out loud). Why should I complain about something that I am choosing to do?

To all you hill naysayers out there — suck it up. Just do it or don’t. But don’t whine about it. I know many runners, especially less experienced runners, who struggle with the concept of hill training and even get anxious about running up a hill.

I swear running/walking/climbing/crawling will make you a better runner. Your heart, lungs, legs and skeletal system will thank you for it.

The best advice that I ever received about hill training was simple: Go up then down.

Anyway … I digress.

I rushed home after work to change before meeting Amanda. I was surprised to see at least 15 runners. After my initial shock, I left Amanda for a short warm up run and to calm my ridiculous anxiety. It was weird to see so many people out after seeing hardly any runners over the past few months. It was great to see so many familiar faces and the usual suspects.

Red Deer has a great and welcoming running community. Amanda and I felt encouraged when others said “good job, girls” as we passed one another.

Those hills weren’t so bad after all.


Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter. Send your column ideas, photos and stories to

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