Hills, Hills and More Hills

I have hills on my mind today, because I’ve run a lot of them this week (a lot for me anyways). I hate running hills and because of this I usually avoid them. But this training cycle, I’ve really been trying to add more to my runs. Hills can help to build strength and increase speed.

Here are some of the hills I’ve done this week:

Sunday: Falmouth Road Race. A 7 mile race, the first three miles are rolling hills and there is a short steep hill right before the finish line.

falmouth 2

Monday: 5 mile run on the Cape on a rolling hill course.

Tuesday: Ran the Newton Hills of the Boston Marathon course. I ate a grilled cheese and french fries right before this run (not a smart choice) so I felt like I was going to puke the whole way, but I made it.

Friday: 6 x 1 minute hill sprints at a hard effort. I don’t think I was actually moving very fast but I was running at a hard effort. I walked down the hill after a few of the repeats, and jogged slowly back down the hill for the others. These nearly killed me, but I was so proud of myself for not quitting.

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Tips for Making Running Hills Suck Less:

  • shorten your stride
  • lift your knees
  • lean in to the hill
  • keep your eyes forward to avoid hunching over
  • think about your arms. If you move your arms faster your feet will follow. I try to think about my arms and not my legs when running uphill and it makes my legs feel lighter. Maybe that’s just me, but try it and see what you think.

How often do you run hills? Do you like running hills?

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9 thoughts on “Hills, Hills and More Hills

  1. Beth @ Racing Robsons

    I know it’s silly (haha, I typed ‘hilly’ at first), but I hate running hills during regular runs because they slow down my speed on my Garmin. But they are so important for gaining strength and for prepping for hills in races. :)

    1. Kacie Post author

      It’s so funny you say that. Today I ran 7.5 miles, then stopped my garmin and saved my run, reset it and then ran the hill repeats and cooldown so that the hills wouldn’t change my pace for the entire run.

  2. Shawn

    Wow, what a week of hills. Really, really impressed. I typically don’t run hills, except during races, which probably isn’t ideal. After reading your post, I think I’ll try to imcorporate more hills. By the way, thanks for the hill running tips, I really need ‘em.

  3. Kelsey @ Blonder Side of Life

    I probably don’t run hills as often as I should lol. I love your runs though! I lived up in the Boston area last year and have done almost every single one of these! It’s always nice to see someone else enjoying the same beautiful courses! :)

    1. Kacie Post author

      That’s so cool! I love running in Boston. It seems like no matter what time of day you go there are always so many other runners out too!

  4. Jen @ Run Beside Me

    Haha. Your food choice before the marathon course made me laugh. I think we’ve all done that before, and maybe even more than once. Too bad the outcome is always the same. We know it’s going to be bad news, but we’re hungry, and just want to get something in our stomachs. Bad news. Been there, got the t-shirt. The rest of the week looked great. Good job! P.S. I’m jealous of your hills. No decent hills in my area. Pout.

  5. Chris

    Here is one thing to remember about your pace when running hills that I didn’t think about for a number of years (and it all harkens back to high school geometry)… your pace per mile on your Garmin is based on a linear mile (because the satellites are up in the sky) and so if you are going 9:00 min pace on the flats and then hit a serious hill and feel like you are actually going about the same pace (but are obviously expending a lot more energy)… the Garmin will say that your pace has slowed down a lot because you are actually covering less ground. You are going as much (or more) up than forward. So you actually aren’t going as much forward in space and that is what your pace/mile is based on. You might get to the top of the hill and have actually moved your feet 1/3 of a mile but only gone ¼ mile as far as Garmin knows. I sometimes think about this when I know I feel like I am moving just as fast but my Garmin says I am going 1:30 per mile slower.
    I can’t say that I love hills by any means, but I do have a specifically hilly route around my house than I do enjoy running. It is mostly (except for a half mile straight stretch) serious uphills or downhills for 4 miles. I sometimes do it twice. By going clockwise or counterclockwise from the house it is  more downhill than uphill. I really like this route because it really gets my heart moving without much mileage and I get to see a lot while doing it. I also know when I am getting in great shape when that route starts to feel easy! But for sure I would rather a nice consistent run on a flat trail.
    Hill Repeats are brutal and I don’t do them much but they can have a serious impact on your fitness.
    You are right about your arms helping to push you up the hill! The harder you pump your arms the stronger and faster your legs will go… they follow the “lead” of your arms. No doubt.

    Great Post and Congrats on getting in a tough and productive week!



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