Never Fear Hills Again, by Mark Williams

Never Fear Hills Again

Having run cross country in high school and college, I've seen a good number of hills. I'd begin a race in great sprits, but after a few hills I would fantasize about crossing the finish line and resting. Even after many miles of training, and many hill-workouts, those hills in races always seemed to mentally drain me. This was the case until I discovered a mental practice.

Several weeks before starting the cross country season of my sophomore year in college, I went away on a family vacation in the mountains. It was great to think about the incredible training that could be done there, but I had no idea what I would learn. While out on a run I came across the bottom of a ski slope. Because it was late in the summer there was no snow. Upon seeing the mountain that lay in front of me, I thought, "Why not?", and turned off the road and started up the mountain. It was a grueling experience with some uphill stretches of at least 200 meters before any kind of resting plateau.

The run up the ski slope was both physically and mentally draining. That day I only went up about 1 mile, but it was one of the longest runs I had ever done.

After the combination of my summer training and that challenging uphill practice, the cross country race hills didn't look so bad anymore. At the top of the hill I'd find myself thinking "That wasn't bad at all. Where's another hill for me to run up?". That one day running up that mountain changed my perception of uphill running, and I have not feared hills since.

About the Author
Mark Williams has been a runner for 13 years. He ran cross country, winter track, and spring track at the High School and College level, and is currently a member of a New York Road Runner's Club. He is an author of articles for