The gain without the pain

TO become a better runner, you have to train to overload, pushing yourself to run faster for longer. I understand the concept, I just wish it didn’t have to hurt quite so much.

Because it does hurt. It hurts a lot. Take this week’s hill session as an example. It was nothing short of torture.

It began so well. I ran to the top of the designated hill feeling calm and composed, confident that I could get to the top fairly quickly. I did. My form was good. I was working hard, but it felt fine.

Unfortunately, one rep is not good enough. I had to do it again and again and again. This is the nature of hill training, and therein lies the problem and the pain.

My body could cope with one rep, but doing more sent it into shock. On the last rep, I looked a very different runner to when I’d started. My legs were like jelly, my stomach had gone into spasm, which meant I was going to be sick, or worse, and I was dribbling. I was almost doubled over, frantically pumping my arms, trying to get to the top of a little beast of a hill called Little Lane. There really is nothing little about it! Someone was clearly having a laugh when they named it.

I collapsed at the top –  gasping, sweating, feeling sick, feeling faint, never doing it again. It took a few minutes to get myself together before I could speak. I turned to Chris, who had reached the top first and was waiting for me to finish. ‘That was horrible!’

‘Yes,’ he said. ‘No pain, no gain!’

I thought about the concept. No pain, no gain. To improve, to better yourself, you have to work hard. I actually like this idea. What you put in, you get out. It’s as simple as that. Work hard and you will see results.

If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worthwhile. There wouldn’t be any sense of achievement when you run a personal best, or run well in a race. If it was easy there wouldn’t be much point. This I understand. This I believe in. I just wish running up Little Lane wasn’t so horrendously painful. For one run only, I’d like to have the gain without the pain.



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