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The Best Way to Run Heart Break Hill City2Surf

How to Nail Heartbreak Hill From People Who've Actually Run It


If you're running the City2Surf this weekend, besides planing how you'll be celebrating post race, you've probably only got one thing on your mind — Heartbreak Hill. All the horror stories, and first-hand encounters runners have had with the seriously savage hill are enough to give anyone a case of bathmophobia (that's a fear of slopes BTW). So besides the suggestion of jumping in an Uber to make your way to the top (which let's be real, sounds like a bloody great idea), we've got some real-deal advice for how to not let Heartbreak Hill break you.

Keep reading to learn hill-running wisdom from those who have conquered (and those who were beaten by) Heartbreak Hill. Because we all know the best lessons in life come from those who came before you and failed, right? You've got this.

  • "An oldie but a goodie: Never change your routine for race day, for example, eat the same pre-run brekkie, and if you haven't run with music before don't start now." — Lisa
  • "Before I'd ever run it, I assumed the easiest way to get up Heartbreak Hill would be to walk it. Big mistake! It takes so much longer and it still hurts like a b*tch after a while. The easiest way to get up is to run it: Run as much as you can once you get to the start of the hill, even if it's for literally 15 seconds at a time, and I promise you it'll be over so much faster than you think." — Jen
  • "The hill is all in the preparation and training. If you haven't been doing hill sprints and training across various types of incline for the last couple of months, you're going to struggle." — Liz
  • "When your legs are screaming for a reprieve, walk backwards until they recover, then turn around and pick up the run again. The sooner you get it done, the better!" — Genevieve
  • "After you've conquered Heartbreak Hill it's largely downhill from there after a few false flats. That view down to the beach as you pass North Bondi golf course, along with the feeling you get from running down Campbell Parade with hundreds of other people before you finish, provides plenty of incentive to get up the hill. It's hard not to get a bit of an adrenalin rush. It's a pretty good way to finish, especially if you have a cold beer waiting at the end." — David
  • "Break it down into stages and just focus on getting through each part of the hill. When you run it, you'll realise it's not very steep the whole way through. I usually break it into four stages: Steep stage, flatten out, steep middle, flatten out. If you approach it this way, it's only two short pushes through the steeps, not an intimidating mammoth climb." — Verity
  • "Keep some energy in reserve from the start! Don't make my mistake and start out too fast — you'll reach Heartbreak Hill and realise that you've wasted yourself too early. If you run a little slower than you think you should be, when you get to the top of the hill, you can speed up for the downhill at the end." — Campbell
  • "Don't be intimated by the other people around you, and think you need to run faster (or slower). Keep to your own pace and rhythm and you'll likely find yourself passing some of those people when it comes to tackling the hill and you've still got some feeling in your legs." Carina

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Rima Brindamour
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