Hills are a nemesis for many. It can be the undoing of so many runners and you can learn to fear them and seek to avoid them. The thing is that the only way to get better at hills is to train on them and run them regularly. After a while hills become no big deal. Yes, they are tough but I think I’ve learnt that the key is to show the hill no fear. Once you show the hill the slightest bit of weakness it will consume you and spit you out crying at the top.
Living in South Wales means that I can’t run very far without finding a hill in my run. They can vary from the obvious steep inclines that feel like you’re walking up a mountain or they can be creepers, the sort that gradually increase their incline without you really realising. Or they can be crafty hills, where you think you’ve reached the top and you’re on the flat and yet you turn a corner to discover you’re still going up.
We are all bound to have a particular hill that we have on our regular routes that challenges us. You’ve just got to reconcile that as a runner you’ve got to deal with them. The more hills you learn to conquer the better and fitter you become. And then when you come to a race that has a hill you can be like ‘A hill? You call that a hill? That is a mere bump in the road. I laugh at your ‘hill’. Or you can just run up it without stopping and keep going when you get to the top.
I came across this tee by Thoosa that sums up how I feel about hills. Get up ’em and Get over it!
I love a good mantra me. They can be short and snappy to give you a sharp pep up during a particularly hard gym or interval session. Or they can be long and philosophical to give running a bigger meaning and help us understand why we’re getting up at 6am to run for 3 hours. With the collision of the worlds of running and social media mantras are constantly doing the rounds and people find inspiration from them all the time. I’m a big fan of ‘Go hard or go home’ and ‘Pain is weakness leaving the body’ (the latter which I first heard in a chronic Back Pain Rehab group about 6 years ago). I also love the phrase ‘If you don’t look a mess then you didn’t work hard enough’, mainly because it’s true. If you’re not a hot, red, sweaty mess at the end of you training then how can you expect to improve?
Mantras motivate us and keep us going when times are tough. My personal favourite, that I chanted to myself during marathon training, was ‘Cup of tea, cup of tea’. I even chanted it during bad patches in my actual marathon. I would chant it and visualise the warming, safe, sweet cuppa that would meet me at the end. It was such an inoccuous phrase but it gave me a distraction and weirdly a motivation to get to the end. It may not do much for others but it was my own little mantra. Liking tea obviously helps. I have since christened this mantra the ‘Mrs Doyle’.
T-shirts with slogans and mantras are everywhere and runners love them.They announce our intentions for the run ahead or declare our love of the sport to the world. If you go to Parkrun then a t-shirt might tell the running community how many times you’ve got up on a Saturday to run a 5k. Unfortunately I do like the occasional lie in so I doubt one of those tees will ever be mine.
Slogan t-shirts aren’t always too obvious either. Well not to me anyway. I had a Nike tee which said ‘Kiss My Airs’ and I hadn’t thought anything of it until my Mum pointed out that it sounded like ‘Kiss My Arse’. I was instantly horrified. I know I’m competitive but I wouldn’t like to be rude about it!
Whilst in injury limbo I’ve discovered some mantra running wear that I’d like for my hundredth running comeback. The Australian sports wear line Lorna Jane is now available in the UK and while I was checking out their site I discovered some great mantras on their running gear. I’ve picked some that are probably relevant to me right now in my current return from injury phrase. This post injury running gift list is growing and growing!
Akira tights £62
What’s your favourite mantra or phrase that motivates your running?