Hill training is a great way to improve as a runner, helping build your strength, stamina and well, your ability to run up and down hills. There are few worse feelings in a race than seeing a hill ahead of you and thinking “uhoh, I’m not ready for this”… The good news is this feeling is easily avoidable – like most things in life practice makes perfect. The more experience you have of running up (and down) hills the more prepared you’ll be to face them on race day.
At the end of this article you’ll find a link on hill running techniques and training sessions; but for now let’s look at where you can go hill training in Manchester City Centre.
Up the Junction
First up is Jutland Street, on the cusp of Ancoats. Back in the day this cobbled hill was known as Junction Street – and its by that name that it was the subject of a painting by the famed local artist LS Lowry.
Located just behind Piccadilly Station this is one of the steepest streets in the UK with a gradient of 33%. Relatively short with a flat section at the end this is ideal for a range of hill training routines – but its steep incline means it might not be the easiest choice for beginners.
The Balloon’s Gone Up
On the north side of the city centre (NOMA) the area between the Printworks and the new Co-op building has a range of hilly streets of varying length and gradient.
Two of the street names in this area – Balloon Street and Sadler’s Yard – pay tribute to James Sadler, the first English aeronaut who took off on a hot air balloon flight from Manchester in 1785
Behind the Co-op building lies Angel Street, leading to Angel Meadow. In spite of these charming names this was once home to a public cemetery for poorer citizens. Surrounded by disease ridden slums and desperate conditions this was Victorian England at its most grim. Visitor Friedrich Engels described it uncompromisingly as simply “hell on earth”. While it’s now a pleasant park surrounded by apartments it is worth remembering life wasn’t always as good for people in this city.
Going for Gould
Further along is Gould Street, the granddaddy of hills in Manchester City Centre. With about 300m of running to do this is the kind of long, testing hill that seems more at home in a fell or trail race than in the city. After a few reps of this you’ll need a drink – of water obviously – but if you do fancy a pint then at the top of Gould Street you’ll find the Marble Arch – one of the best pubs in Manchester well known for its on site brewery, great food and unusual sloping floor – but no walking backwards and forwards to the bar doesn’t count as hill training!
Hopefully the above will give you some ideas on where to go hill training in Manchester City Centre – just out of the city centre Strangeways, Prestwich and Heaton Park have a few challenging hills to tackle – but maybe more about that in a future post.
As promised here’s a great guide to hill training from local running club Manchester Frontrunners – happy reading.
And just in case you’re interested here’s a link to some paintings of Angel Meadow in happier times by LS Lowry.