Fight the Hill Head-On

Did you find a new running or hiking trail in the challenge last week ? This week is another trail-compatible week, and I encourage you to find a place to have fun for that. But we’re going to go up a notch because I want you to specifically find the scary hill. And go upstairs.

What makes the hill look scary? Sometimes it’s cool. You are afraid of losing steam before you get to the top. If so, read our hill running guide without losing confidence . Walk slowly, take tiny steps, and focus on keeping your efforts light and steady as you work your way to the top.

Alternatively, you can stop and walk. How do you think ultra-runners run on a 100-mile mountain trail? Without running every step, I can promise you that.

Sometimes the hill is intimidated by its length. There you can use the same strategies, but it is even more important to keep yourself in rhythm. On a really long downhill, I try to keep my effort level as low as possible – jogging is so slow that my heart rate is no higher than on a flat surface. And I still take walk breaks if I need them.

But there is another problem that often arises for those of us who live in hilly areas: the hills are endless, and you will always meet one when you are least ready for it.

This is the challenge I have tackled for myself this week. I live in a hilly area and will not go anywhere. I can’t even do something as simple as placing the largest hill at the beginning and in the middle of the race, because there is always another hill somewhere. So I hit the road knowing I was fighting a bunch of steep, long, awkward hills. My goal was not to rush or even maintain a good pace, but just to survive and not hate the journey. A couple of strategies that helped:

  • Plan your return and return. Thus, on every hill I climb, I know that I am going down.
  • Take the very first leg of the lift. This means that on the way back, I go down to the finish line.
  • I keep a monologue in my head all the time, pretending to run with an imaginary friend who hates the hills.

It might be silly, but the latter got me started on the hardest parts. “This is the last climb,” I told him, but sometimes I lied. He was in awe of my ability to keep panting. I almost left it behind, but then Eminem’s ‘Til I Collapse’ caught fire just in time (he can listen through my headphones thanks to the advanced technology of an imaginary friend) and he did it.

Whatever your fear of the hills, I would like you to challenge it this week. Find a steep hill and run up it a few times, or find a long hill and go for it with all your strength, or make a series of unpredictable hills and stay on course. If you live in a hopelessly flat place, why not climb the stairs of the stadium or visit the parking ramp after hours? Give it a try and let us know how it goes.


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