I'm a day late and dollar short when it comes to Medical Mondays this month, but I promise if you had a glimpse into my life right now - you'd understand. Chaos feels like an appropriate description. I know many of you can relate so I won't sulk, please just excuse my recent absence and tardiness. 

Hello to anyone and everyone visiting from the Medical Monday's Blog Hop! Although I missed the boat yesterday, I LOVE this week in the blogging world. Connecting with people is what makes blogging fun, so I'm glad you've stopped by! Feel free to say hello :)

Last week, I was planning to share some of my running tips when it comes to HILLS. The evil, evil hills that I'm hoping after this post you may come to love. Far cry?

When I started running regularly, it was in Charlottesville, Virginia. There, there is no such thing is flat land- it always felt like you were going UP.  Although not surrounded by mountains, Ann Arbor has still proven to be quite hilly as well!
Have you ever ran in a city like that? It can be intimidating right off the bat, like you have no chance of survival. There, it was the "I want to cryyy," sort of hills. Those ones you can see from a mile away, rolling, rolling, rolling. I would plan out running routes based on the hills on the route because I was so intimated by them. However, I quickly learned that they are inevitable- so I had better get used to it.
Believe it or not, hills don't bother me at all now. What changed?

There is a reason that professional athletes train on hills, that we are intimidated by them, races carefully plan routes based on the location and size of them, and all of the crowds and signs at races are at the bottom of hills: They are hard. Inclines can take a tremendous amount of energy away from you, leave you panting for air and your muscles weak. Running for three miles on constant hills will leave you just as tired as running 10 on flat terrain.

Every runner knows that running is a huge mental battle. With that in mind (no pun intended), here's how I learned to conquer the hills (and sometimes enjoy them!!).

First, I realized that every hill looked the largest when I was at the bottom of it or running up to it. It's the worst feeling when you are running along, feeling great, and you look ahead and see {what seems like} a MASSIVE hill that you are about to climb. I've had times where my body has immediately felt weaker and tired from just looking at an incline, as if it's already defeated me before I had given myself the chance to conquer it. In that moment, I have to remind myself that it only LOOKS big. Done, easy.

Second, Count!
When running up hills, I count. 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4...and so on.
Because running is so mental, you need to focus on something other than your heart rate increasing or your calves hurting. Focus on counting. 1 2 3 4....1 2 3 4....
If you don't enjoy the counting method, I also (at the risk of embarrassing myself) sing the lyrics, "I like to move it move it..I like to move it move it..." Nice ring, right?! This is all under my breath of course.
Counting or singing on repeat will also help regulate your breathing and force you to take normal breaths rather gasping for air.

Third, Look down!
Like I had mentioned in rule #1- hills ALWAYS feel bigger when you are coming up on them.
Every mountain looks bigger from it's base. (You can quote me on that on that inspirational statement of the day ;)
When you are running up the hill, keep your head and eyes down, only to look up periodically. You will forget you are even on a steep incline. When you look up,  your only view is how far you have to go, not how much you've already done. It's easier to feel weaker at the sight of what is to come.

Fourth, Celebrate!
When running with a friend (or even yourself), make sure to acknowledge the accomplishment, as small as it may be. Slap hands, scream a bit, throw your hands in the air, jump for joy, click your heels together. Realizing you did it and you're perfectly fine will continue to serve as inspiration until your next incline comes. I still tend to tighten my arms a bit on hills, so I'll shake them out at the top and keep going - dual purpose since it appears as if I'm just a bad dancer trying to celebrate.

These are the things that have proven to work for me. I love being able to CONQUER hills, I makes me feel physically and mentally stronger throughout the exercise. Before you know it, you won't even pay any attention to inclines because you will be so comfortable with them being part of your routine. Of course, still feel free to celebrate conquering them anytime you please.

Do you have any tips for running inclines?


  1. This has zilch to do with your post, but I just was excited to tell you that we'll be headed your direction for a residency interview next month! :)

    1. Yeahh!! You're in the mist of interview season - so exciting!
      What is your husband going to do his residency in? Are you coming down as a family?
      I will actually be in your direction tomorrow for work haha

  2. Thanks for linking up with Medical Monday's! My husband just ran a marathon this past weekend, and watching from the sidelines brought back so many memories. The energy is amazing. I am contemplating taking up running again.

  3. So wonderful! I just finished my first triathlon a week or so ago and the hills are the worst. A couple of hills were pretty rough but I like your counting concept. This thought continually washed over my aching legs: "keep breathing, just keep breathing." Repeat!

  4. I'm going to dream of running hills... and counting... and singing... :O)
    Thanks for linking up! We love having you even if it's Tuesday!! :)

  5. You go, hill runner! Good tips, which are also necessary around very hilly Cincinnati... I often get through them (and tough runs in general) by remembering that all things have an end. Just keep going, and before I know it, I've made it! (Here's hoping I can take that attitude through labor & delivery - ha!)

  6. I actually really love hills. Hill repeats were always my favorite "hard" workout. I totally count too when going up them. I'm sooo bad at running DOWN hills though! I always pass people going up & get passed back on the down. Especially on trails :( If you want a good hilly race to run, the Milford Labor Day 30K is almost all back-roads, & quite hilly... one of my most favorite races!


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