In the last couple of posts, I talked about how hill sprints are a good procedure to help you gain psychological toughness, especially if you are new to high intensity training. You don’t need a gym as hill sprints don’t cost you a penny
.Also, you don’t need an extremely steep hill or long one either. You just got to pick one that you run up at your maximum effort for about 50 yards or about 30 seconds. No need to be exact. Eyeball it. When you are done, you should feel extremely winded and hunched over, struggling for air. If not breathing hard, you are not running all out. If you do it again and you are breathing normally, add another 20 more yards. If that don’t get you gassed, pick a more gnarly hill.
The hill sprint must be physically challenging and cause your heart rate to be flying to point that it feels a little scary like you ain’t never going to breathe right again. If not, they won’t fuck with you psychologically. You want the image of the hill to get inside your head to point that you wish to god that you didn’t have to do anymore. When the mind games begin, is when the toughness training start.
If you are already in good shape or hill sprints are already part of your conditioning protocol, you must make the adjustments to make the drill very uncomfortable for you. Being mentally tough is always about the challenge and having that challenge cause some mental agony in you as you anticipate it. When the workouts become more psychological draining than physical, BINGO!
Also, you must have integrity to always up the ante when things are getting easy for you. This will take some time to develop as it human nature and the sign of the weak and lazy to look for the easy way out. This may be good for the masses, but not for toughness development. So, when it doubt, add more intensity to the WOD.
In terms of hill sprints, you can get as creative as possible to makes thing worse on you mentally. I like to add some body weight work, like push-ups and squats and then sprint. If you have a kettlebell, you can do some snatches, swings and then take off. Another thing you can do is to carry a sandbag with you as blast up the hill. My favorite hill sprint combo is slamming a medicine ball or old tire and then haul ass up the hill. Or you can do a combination of all any the four. The point is, you have an array of movements to make the WOD as metabolically challenging and mentally miserable as possible.
So, come up with 5 possible combinations. Number them from the easiest to the hardest.
Now do the hardest one.
1. 8 hill sprints (less than a minute rest in between)
2. 8 sets
15 kettlebelll swings
20 push ups
3. 8 sets
6 medicine ball slams
6 underhand medicine ball throws