Hill Prep (the non-running parts)

All “I Might Die at Hood to Coast” jokes aside for a second.

I probably won’t ACTUALLY die, but it’s a truth that those inclines pose a seriously scary threat to my flatland legs.  I’ve made some good improvements in my hill-climbing abilities, thanks to a few butt-busting runs, but there’s still lots of room (and need) for improvement if I’m going to be any help at all to my HTC teammates.

The good news is we’re still 3.5 weeks out from race day.  So if you’ve also been luckily assigned Runner #5 duties (holler), or you’ve got some other hill-climbing task on your agenda, here are some of the things I’ve been doing to make sure I’m not laying in a heap of Sparkle Skirt sweaty mess on the road of my first leg.

 additions to my standard routine, which includes a long run, track work, and a hill workout –


GROSS I KNOW.  But running uphill takes more work than flat ground (Duh), and quads and butt muscles are especially key for successful hill’ing.  I’ve added lunges, squats, and wall sits into my routine.  I’m aiming for one leg-focused strength sesh/week.

Sunday’s full-body weights workout. Yes I’m still sore.

* Sneaky Bonus Burn – Wall sits while brushing your teeth is an easy way to include some extra quad work into an already established routine. And if nothing else it’ll keep you from brushing too long.

* STRETCHING as Injury Prevention *

I’m VERY guilty of only stretching what and when something feels tight.  Thanks to my past issues with my calves (which led to shin splints, achilles issues, and foot pain) I can pinpoint early-onset pain and take care of it, but it’d be better to stretch regularly and not have to worry about it period.

With the quick jump into hill work I have aggravated them (calves) and noticed major hip tightness, so I’ve been very diligent in stretching, sticking, and giving Brian orders to dig his thumbs into them “until I cry”.

ugly brown carpet is surprisingly great for floor stretches. not surprising? feel-so-good hurt from the Stick (last pic)

* YOGA *

Um combining strength AND stretching seems brainless. Stronger quads, hams, and an IT band that doesn’t feel like a dry rubber band will help keep me healthy and my form in check.  Especially when fatigue sets in and my “run” turns into more of a “shuffle-crawl” up that final stretch of hill.

I found a class that fits into my schedule with an instructor I love, and have committed to really making yoga a part of my training again.  Wednesday nights are for OM.

reality check : if there was time for yoga on your honeymoon, there’s time for yoga now

I found a good article on why we should make hills our friend here.  Surprisingly “because you’re runner #5 and might die climbing for 3 miles straight after 24 sleepless hours in a van” isn’t one of them.


I think I’ll keep hills as part of my training once HTC is over, just on a less-frequent basis.  I like how strong they make me feel, but I miss my tempo runs.  And following the “3 hard workouts/week” rule, there’s a bit of pick-your-poison fun.

Although no lies I’d trade hills, tempos, or track for Long Runs in a heartbeat.

  – Looking to stock up on compression? Aspaeris has their RED Pivot Shorts back – they’re on sale for $45, and with code RUNRED45 you’ll get a pair of black shorts free! Give your butt a hug. –

Sarah OUaL

20 thoughts on “Hill Prep (the non-running parts)

  1. Weights, sure, but in your case, just make sure they don’t make you too sore to hit your runs. Stretch after every run. I never used to and always battled minor things here and there, but I’ve found it to really keep me injury free. And of course, the thing that will help you the most with hills … is hills! On recovery days, try 100-meter sprints up a moderate hill. They’ll help you feel better and they won’t be too taxing.


  2. Foam roller all the way! I am starting to reincorporate hills into my training. I think that’s where I messed up on my first half marathon. I refused to run on any hills! Whereas my husband Brian ran on nothing but hills- he crushed it and did it in under 2:30 with half ass training!


  3. Looks like some good hill prep! Doing that cross training to stay injury free is so important but sucks to do sometimes! Glad you got a plan :)


  4. Seems like a great plan! I might have to incorporate some of these tips. I am super bad about coming home and laying around in a sweaty, heaving heap on the floor for twenty minutes after a run and then just going on with my day. Maybe I should throw in a stretch now and again.:)


  5. I hate stretching…I’m better at just hitting the streets, sweating it out, coming home to eat! Stretching does seem like the answer to my little/big injuries, hot spots, painful moments…it is often slowing me down. :(
    I should probably floss, too!!! While in the chair-sit against the bathroom door? Ugh….

    Thanks for the reminders!


  6. I really suck at strength training. I really want to be strong and able and have that awesome six pack but I hate it! I hate doing squats and sit ups and push ups and anything to do with weights. I always feel great after I do it but I am not a huge fan. How do you convince yourself to do strength straining and how many times a week do you do it?


  7. Love the wall sit while brushing your teeth. I might have to try that from now on. I pretty good at stretching ut I need to add more strength training in. I think a combo of running/cross training/strength training/stretching is an ideal balance!



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