Four Mental Tips for Running Hills

Sunday’s half marathon was quite a challenge, with over 500 feet of elevation gain, yet everyone who came finished.  Congratulations!  Hurray team!

I’m sure you all noticed the hills, especially that tough steep one at Mile 11.  The only hill that steep on the LA Marathon course comes at Mile 4, but it will feel much easier.  There will be drummers pounding out a rhythm that will power you up the hill, and with all the crowd support, you’ll feel energized as you climb.  As far as all the other hills, if you follow the training schedule, your body will be ready. Here are a few tips to help you be mentally ready.

1) Know the course.  Our plan is to do some runs on the actual marathon course, so remember where those hills are and how long they are.  It often seems easier when you know what’s coming on race day.

2) Don’t look at the hill.  It’s tempting to look ahead of you, focus on the incline, and let  negative messaging get you down.  Instead, look at the scenery and think positive thoughts.  I spent a lot of time enjoying those snow capped mountains on Sunday.  I hope you did too.

3) Don’t think of it as a hill.  It’s just an opportunity to give those muscles that power you on the flats a short break.

4) Take advantage of the crowd support.  Running low on energy?  Hold up your hand, run close to the spectators, and you’ll get lots of high fives from people who are there to support you.  You’ll feel energized once again.

Those hills are a metaphor for life.  As you conquer those hills, think of all the other challenges you can overcome.


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