Who’s afraid of the big bad hills?  Not me and I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to be either.  Where I live, I have no choice but to run hills…lots of them.  My house is literally on a mountain.  I’m not exaggerating as you will see in the video below.  Since I moved to my house on the mountain five years ago, I can honestly say that my racing times have improved and my legs and lungs have gotten stronger.  Every time I go for a run I either have to go directly down hill or up hill and, to get back home, I have to run straight up the sucker.  The only saving grace is that our house in mid-hill so the only time I truly have the run the length of the mountain is when I do hill repeats.

A view from the top!  I stood in my driveway to take this shot. It's a long way up from the bottom of that road!

A view from the top! I stood in my driveway to take this shot. It’s a long way up from the bottom of that road!

Why the hell would I do that to myself?  Because it’s great training and if you don’t fear the hills but instead, power up them, you will have a huge advantage on your competition.  I know this because I love to pass people on the hills during races.  I also have special hill mantras like “the hills make you stronger” or “this hill is not as steep as my hill.”  Of course, that last one won’t work for you unless you also happen to live on a mountain…or you’re one of my neighbors.



A few tips for running hill repeats:

1.  Start easy.  Find a hill that is run-able in about 2-3 minutes from top to bottom and start by doing 2-3 repeats.  You can do them as part of your workout or for the entire workout.

2.  Focus on the top of the hill.  I know you probably don’t want to see how far you have to go but if your gaze is at the top, it puts your body in better alignment and you’ve got your eyes on the prize!

3.  Just do it.  Unless you live in the desert plains, most likely you will encounter a hill or two (or seven) when racing.  If you have the advantage of conquering hills on a regular basis you will power through them come race time.

4.  You only need to do this type of workout every two weeks, unless you have a particularly hilly race coming up in which case, I would recommend it weekly.

5.  It’s a different workout and it’s always a plus to train those muscles in a different way.  Hello soreness!  Hello foam roller!  Good-bye fat!  See ya monotony!

It's a beautiful view when you're NOT running up it!

It’s a beautiful view when you’re NOT running up it!

I shamelessly plugged two of my favorite running necessities in the video – my gloves and sunglasses.  I’ll be talking more about my TrailHeads gear in another post but you can check them out here or by clicking on the affiliate link on my sidebar.  The Optic Nerve sunglasses I won in a raffle from Nicole at Work In Sweats Mama and they have become my go-to faves!  You can check those out here.  I almost passed out when I saw how inexpensive they are so if you’ve forgotten to get yourself a little holiday gift then problem solved!  Oh yes and Vaughn’s plastic Wizard of Oz scarecrow is from a happy meal at McDonald’s (his father took him!) but I would not recommend getting that and then running…or doing anything else.

Now get out there and RUN for the those HILLS!

Do you do hill repeats as part of your running workout?  What’s one workout you really loathe but do it anyway because you feel great afterward?  All of them?