Hills: My New Hat Trick

“If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.” -Author unknown

“Hills never get easier, you get stronger.”   -Greg LaMond

“Hills. We love them. We hate them. they make us strong. They make us weak. Today, I chose to embrace the hills.” -Hal Higdon

“Be a Hill Seeker. Most of us try to avoid hills, but what’s so good about flat? Think about it: flat tires, flat hair, flat returns and –the ultimate–flatlining. Life happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you ever imagined. If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.” -Author unknown

“Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement. The more you repeat something, the stronger you get.” -Joe Catalano

“I’d rather be standing at the top of the hill that I just dominated unable to breathe, ready to puke, hair matted to my forehead, than at the bottom wondering what it would feel like.” -Fiterature

If you run with me, there is one thing you know for sure, “I LOVE hills.” I have loved hill running for as long as I have been running. What started as a mantra, has grown to be true. Good news for me, there are more hills, steeper hills, longer hills on the trail. 🙂 I am not a fast hill runner. You don’t have to be a fast hill runner. I get in a flow. My body knows the pace and the form it needs to make it to the top without stopping. I do not have to repeat a mantra anymore.

My new trick? I count every left footfall. I have counted most hills in Smith Park. My fav hill to repeat there is on the Green trail. It is approximately 130 left footfalls to the top. I like to repeat this hill 4-5 times, during a workout. Knowing the footfalls of the hills gives me confidence. It might sound weird, but I like it. Counting helps me to get in a rhythm and get it done, without wondering when I will reach the top. I can settle in to the hill and do the work. I know exactly when I will reach the top. I know “half way” and  “almost done”. It works well for me. Mentally, counting makes every hill less intimidating. I mean, if I can do ‘130’, I can easily do ’50’. It is a good mind game to convince my body that it is doable.

Form on hills is important.

  • Short, quick steps
  • balls of my feet/forefoot.
  • An even cadence to get into a rhythm that will carry me to the top.
  •  Relax
  • hips tall, chest tall

Try my trick the next time your training schedule has “hill repeats”!

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