Friday, June 28, 2019

Lessons in Hill “Training” – 2 Weeks Out

Well, here we have it! I’ve officially been living in the Kansas City area with my amazing boyfriend for three weeks, and while everything has its ups and downs (sometimes spurred on by my almost superhuman ability to not take any kind of stress well), I’m really liking this big change and enjoying Kansas City more and more each day. I’ve been exploring something new each week and “hill training” – and I’m using quotations around this because I don’t really have a choice in the matter; everywhere you go has hills – for going on the 2nd week now. Sure, I’ve run races with hills in them and even Houston and Austin area streets with slight inclines from time to time, but nothing like legit, seemingly non-ending hills almost every day. What I’ve learned is this:

1.) Hill training is just like training for any other aspect of running; you feel like you might keel over and die but as soon as you’re over the top and heading downhill you love running again.

2.) Be mindful on the downhill! Your legs might be screaming at you going up, and your heart might be pounding out of your chest, but those downhills are sneaky- they are the little sneaky ninjas of nature’s running terrain- if you don’t watch your form and how you’re feet are landing and you just slap down your favorite sneakers any old way you feel like it you will regret it. Take my word on this.

3.) Pacing is harder on hills but just as important. I still like to run by feel and I find that if I try to keep by the books and continuously stare at my Garmin to see if I’m keeping good time, I get frustrated at the numbers, and in turn my run. I like the Brooks moto: Run Happy, and while I have been using my watch for pace more often (I DO see the importance in it), upping the ante a lot more and trying harder than ever this time around, I still like to just get out there, set my Garmin and go (and most times forgetting to stop it). 

4.) Hills are all relative. I learned this one mostly from running the Big Sur Marathon, but also from the KC area. Some hills are taller, some shorter, some longer and sometimes the roads aren’t even level, but every time I think I have conquered a big hill, sometimes a smaller one can be just as challenging. It just depends on life.
My 1st KC hill race last year - source

      That said, I’m looking forward to running more hills and to enjoying the (a lot) less humid weather. With running there is always something new to learn, even if we think sometimes we have it all figured out, and it’s good to embrace that. No matter how many years we run or how proficient we become it’s always good to truly embrace being a student of this- or any- sport. When I embraced this thought process, I felt true enjoyment and got my love of training and competing back. Cheers to anyone out there slugging up and down hills (whatever incline they may be) in the Summer!

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