Saturday, April 28, 2012

Running - Hills

I read this in another blog and thought I would share it.  It is an interesting idea and it makes a lot of sense.  Anyway, enjoy:
Hills are an interesting challenge.  We know we have the strength and the experience to get through the climb, so it isn't a physical thing as much as it is mental.  Looking at something hard looming ahead is a daunting exercise in any arena, running or not.  I have friends and acquaintances right now who are looking at hills: a move with their family, a cancer diagnosis, an ADD diagnosis, a child with an incurable disease, a job change, a divorce, adjusting to a new baby, longing for a new baby and not having one, and many others.  The incline ahead is steep and unyielding.  So how do we prepare?  Running hills gives us some clues.  First, we relax - which is hard to do but essential.  We cannot make any assessments in a state of panic.  Then we remin ourselves and each other that we have strength for climbing.  Then we breathe; ideally, we breath deeply.  Then we begin.  We lift our legs and pump our arms and go at our own pace.  This is incredibly important.  It's so easy to lose heart on a hill when we compare ourselves to those around us.  We waste energy by taking our focus off the goal, which is of course going through the finish, not to it.  Some people attack a hill; others run steady.  Some have a mantra; others need a clear head.  It's good to know what kind of climber you are-the middle of a hill is not a good time to mess with definitions or change tactics.  When we practice enough by running hills, we develop our own rhythms and strategies.  The same with life's hills: The smaller ones make us fit for the biggies, and we can maintain our same rhythm.  The more we practice, the fitter we become and the less we fear. ~ Kristin Armstrong
Hills are always an interesting challenge, I agree.  I was always told to lift your legs higher, and do a sprint up the hill to maintain momentum after you hit the crest.  It seems to work well in my past experiences.  Most of the time (not always!) after a upward hill, there is a down hill slope.  During which you can open up your stride and not use as much energy. I do plan on trying the mental plan that Armstrong above wrote.  It seems like it would do nothing but help with other parts of your life.

Anyone else have ideas, motivation, cool stories, etc... about running hills?