Let’s start by stating the obvious: the Netherlands is as flat as a sad pancake on a Sunday morning. The highest point of the country is at 322.7 metres (1,059 ft) above sea level. So, there you have it, no relief whatsoever, no beautiful cliffs to gaze upon, no mysterious mountains to drool over as you stop in the middle of your long weekend run.
Don’t get me wrong, I love living in Amsterdam. From its beautiful canals overlooked by stunning gothic houses to its gorgeous parks like Oosterpark or Vondelpark, its open-minded cultured fuelled by 180 different nationalities, Amsterdam is not far from the perfect city in my book.
When it comes to running though, that’s another story. After completing my first marathon in Rotterdam I was determined to train for the Amsterdam marathon in October and break the 3:30 mark. This never happened due to the discovery of my ventricular tachycardia (v-tach) condition just a couple of weeks before the race. Nonetheless, I had a great time training for it!
The part that caused me the greatest difficulty was the famous ‘Hill Repeats’ that are pretty much standard to any decent marathon training plan. The Yasso 800s and the long runs with fast finish were tough but at least it was all under my control. Running hills was landscape sensitive so I had to research where to go quite a bit. I even tried to estimate the elevation with online maps to make sure it was matching my training plan as much as possible.
Without further ado here are my top 3 spots to run hill repeats in Amsterdam:
Nesciobrug is great to run hill repeats. It’s long enough for a proper session and it’s reserved for pedestrians and cyclists so you won’t be bothered by cars. The only downside is that it’s after Amsterdam Science Park so a bit far from the center (about 7 km).
Amsterdamsebrug is the main bridge connecting the ‘mainland’ of Amterdam to Amsterdam Noord (North). It has a nice steady elevation that’s very well suited to run hill repeats. However, it’s also a bit far from the center (about 5 km) and there’s a lot of traffic on the bridge. You can always do your hill repeats and then chill for a while in beautiful Flevopark that borders the Amsterdamsebrug.
3. NEMO Science Museum
NEMO Science Museum
Nemo is a great option if you are looking for a hill running spot in the center of Amsterdam. The ramp of Nemo made of wide steps has a nice elevation but it may be a bit too short (120 steps so about 100 metres).
What are your favorite spots to run hills in Amsterdam? Share them in the comments and we’ll add them to this article.