What Happened When I Stopped Avoiding Hills

Hills will happen—both in life and in running—and in the end it is all about how you approach them.

laguna hills half marathon results run 7 (800x450)

I am not a fan of hills. I try to avoid hilly races. If someone describes a race as ‘kinda hilly’ or ‘challenging’ or in any way alludes to a ‘killer hill at mile xyz,’ I’m out. No gracias.

But it’s not super realistic or possible to ban all hilly races from my running calendar. I like to run. I like to race often. This means I either need to step it up and run some hills or find a new hobby (preferably one that involves food at the end).

So I’ve some to terms with the fact that I will face hills in my life. Oh, and in running. And when I do find myself at the start line of a hilly race I have a method to ensure I still have a good race.

When faced with hills I accept the things I cannot change (the hills), look for the courage to change the things I can (my attitude toward said hills) and the wisdom to know when to push myself and when to take a walking break.

In trying to search for some wisdom, I find another goal for the race. This weekend I ran the Laguna Hills Half Marathon. Yeah, it’s a little hilly. And that’s good for me. It makes me a better runner. It makes me stronger.

My goal for the race was simple: Don’t walk. That was it. I just wanted to run the whole thing without walking any of the hills.

This wasn’t just about ‘powering through’ the steep ones—it meant I had to run smart. I had to manage my energy and realize how hard to push when chipping away at a big hill. I had to enjoy the downhills and make sure I caught my breath when it was flat. It was a great exercise in being aware of how I felt during the race. I stayed very in tune with my body (and my quads were on fire by mile 10, they let me know loud and clear).

laguna hills half marathon results run (450x800)

In the end, I was super proud of myself for staying positive and pushing through a challenging course. I felt good about my effort and wasn’t super worried about my finish time (it was 01:48:00, in case you’re worried about it though).

How do you handle hills? Tweet us at @RunEatRepeat and @WomensRunning and share!

Read More:
The Hidden Benefits Of Running Hills
What’s The Proper Way To Run Over Hills During Races?