Few challenges are as exhilarating and rewarding as conquering a steep hill climb. The breathtaking views, the sense of accomplishment, and the sheer physical test make hill climbs a favourite among people. However, mastering these ascents requires meticulous preparation and training.
I, Huw Devonald, am an entrepreneur living in Glasgow. Not only am I passionate about business, I’m also excited by fitness. I’m so lucky to be based in Scotland because I’m surrounded by so many beautiful hills in the highlands, which allows me to go hill climbing regularly.
Hill climbing is a great past-time for me, not only as an exciting physical challenge but as a mindful activity that promotes a lot of skills necessary to my day-to-day role as an entrepreneur. However, you can’t just put your boots on and go, you’ve got to prepare and here’s how I, Huw Devonald, do it…
1. Set Clear Goals
Before embarking on your hill climb journey, it’s essential to set clear and achievable goals. Decide on the specific hill climb or climbs you want to tackle and establish both short-term and long-term objectives. These goals will serve as your motivation and guide throughout your training.
For instance, you might set a short-term goal of improving your climbing endurance by a certain percentage within the next three months and a long-term goal of completing a challenging hill climb event.
2. Understand the Hill
Each hill climb is unique, and understanding the terrain you’ll be facing is crucial. Research the hill’s gradient, length, and any technical challenges it presents. Knowing what you’re up against allows you to tailor your training and strategy accordingly.
For example, a long, gradual ascent will require a different approach than a short, steep climb with hairpin turns.
3. Focus on Endurance and Strength
Hill climbs demand a combination of endurance and strength. To build endurance, incorporate longer rides into your training regimen. Gradually increase your ride duration and include elevation gains to simulate the challenges of the hill climb.
For strength training, include interval sessions and hill repeats. These workouts help improve your ability to generate power during steep ascents. Don’t forget to work on your core and upper body strength, as maintaining a stable position is vital when climbing.
4. Nutrition and Hydration
Proper nutrition and hydration are critical for any physical endeavour, but they become even more important during hill climbs. Dehydration and inadequate fuelling can lead to fatigue and performance decline.
Plan your nutrition strategy, including the types of energy gels, bars, and hydration products you’ll use. Practice your nutrition plan during training rides to ensure it works well for you and doesn’t cause digestive issues.
5. Mental Preparation
Hill climbs can be mentally taxing. Mental preparation is just as important as physical training. Visualise yourself successfully completing the climb and develop a positive mantra or mental cues to keep you motivated during tough moments.
Stay focused on your breathing and technique rather than dwelling on the difficulty of the climb. Break the ascent into smaller, manageable segments, and celebrate small victories along the way.
6. Dress for Success
Choosing the right climbing attire can make a significant difference during a hill climb. Lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing will help you stay comfortable, as sweating is inevitable. Ensure your attire is suitable for variable weather conditions, as temperatures can drop at higher elevations. Oh and do not forget thick socks for your climbing boots!
7. Plan for Recovery
Recovery is an often-neglected aspect of hill climb preparation. After completing a challenging climb, your body needs time to recover. Incorporate rest days and active recovery into your training schedule. Proper post-ride nutrition and hydration play a crucial role in recovery as well.
Preparing for a hill climb is a rewarding journey that requires dedication, patience, and careful planning.
Whether you’re a seasoned climber or new to the world of hill climbs, the key is to gradually build your endurance, strength, and climbing technique while staying mentally focused.
By setting clear goals, understanding the hill, focusing on endurance and strength, perfecting your technique, planning your nutrition and hydration, mentally preparing, dressing appropriately, and prioritising recovery, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the challenges and enjoy the exhilaration of conquering those majestic climbs.
So, gear up, embrace the journey, and let the ascent begin!
About Huw Devonald
Huw Devonald is an ex-professional rugby player turned entrepreneur based in Glasgow, United Kingdom. As well as having an innate passion for his growing sales organisation, he is an avid health and fitness fanatic. Huw Devonald enjoys sharing his experiences related to both business and fitness, and often demonstrates how the two are inextricably linked.