I have a lot of mental rules when I race.
- Skip the first water station – it is always super crowded and will eat up time
- Stick to the outside of the pack – it is way easier to pass people there when running on crowded city streets
- NO WALKING
Running hills is not my favorite activity, by any means. But I have never walked one in a race. I almost did, once during the Icicle 10 miler in Delaware. The course, like most Delaware race courses, is very hilly. However, this course in particular possesses the most profound hill ever.
The hill is profound. In its steepness, its length – and most of all – it’s placement! Throughout the entire course you are running up and down hills. The race is in January, so you are running around snow piles or ice patches. Sometimes you have no choice but to carefully plod through the ice patch. One year, on this course, my shoelace came untied – TWICE. The course carries the possibility for a lot of frustration. Then, when you are sure the end is near, you reach it – the most profound hill ever.
At mile 9.5 you are turned and face it – straight up. The first year I ran the course I choked up when I saw the hill ahead of me. When I started to run it, I realized it was a never-ending hill and almost cried. IT WAS THE CLOSEST I HAVE EVER COME TO WALKING DURING A RACE. Before I let the tear fall, before I broke a cardinal rule and walked – I exhaled as deep and as best I could, put my head down and trudged up the most intense hill I have ever faced.
I respect the hill. It is a beast to get up, but as far as hill’s go, it is a beauty. I plan to face it again this coming January. In order to be prepared for our next meeting, I continue to do hill workouts. Today, I did a 5 mile hill workout on the treadmill. And realized here is what I am gaining:
Why Hill Training Rocks
I am getting better at hills
The more you do something, the easier it will become to accomplish. One day I will rock that profound hill. In order to do that, I will have to do my homework. Hill training!
Hill Training makes me stronger
One day I will fly up that hill. Even at mile 9.5. I will have the strength! The more I train, the stronger I get. And that is great news for my marathon muscles, since they are asked to carry the most!
Hill Training makes me a faster runner
Yes, I build endurance, I build strength when I train on hills. Add those together and what else do you get? Speed! I will not tire out as easy. My body will be able to go the distance faster. All good stuff!
I will continue to train on hills. I want to be a stronger, faster runner – but most of all – I want to face the most profound hill ever in January and not get choked up in fear.
I will smile. I will put my head down and get up that hill – FAST!
[Written in response to the one word prompt – PROFOUND]