With my recent devotion to running, I have yet another running themed post.  As I have mentioned before, to me, running is part physical (as my knees can attest this week) and part mental.  Your mind will play tricks on you and can become an obstacle or a hinderance if you let it.  And this is true with many things in life so since I have a lot of time for thoughts running through my head when running, I often think of these analogies.

When you come to a hill, especially after you are well into your run, you have a few choices of how you want to approach it-

  • Take it as a challenge to overcome
  • Focus on it as just part of the run, nothing special
  • Think about the downhill on the other side
  • Dread it with ever step

Taking on the challenge is a great attitude.  If we can teach our kids to look at a challenge and face it head on with a desire to overcome it then we have done well.  Likewise, there is a lot of maturity in taking obstacles as just a part of life, nothing special to get us off track, just one of those things.

Dwelling on the downhill to get you through the uphill holds some risks- what if the uphill is longer than you thought, can you take it?  What if the downhill isn’t what you thought it would be- are you going to be disappointed?  Using the downhill hope can cause some issues.

Dreading it is never a good choice.  It will only make it longer and more intense if you dread it the whole way.  You have to find a way to defeat the hill mentally before you can defeat it physically.  And this is a great lesson for your kids- teach them to get into a mental state that will get them over a tough time, not dwell in dread.

Downhill presents its own challenges.  There are a few ways to look at a downhill slope in your run:

  • take advantage of it and go fast to make better time
  • just think of it as another segment of the run
  • worry about the uphill that is sure to follow (unless you just did it)

Again, alot of how you approach it is frame of mind.  By all means, whenever the opportunity presents itself to better your run, or you own personal world, due to the good fortune of an “easy” time period, you should take advatage of it.  Enjoy it.  Likewise, if you just take it as part of the ebb and flow of life, at least enjoy it.

If you are focused on the impending uphill, again dreading what is to come next, then you will likely ruin the enjoyment as you have one eye on waiting for the other foot to drop.  This is not the way to run your run or live you life.  Accept that there are ups and downs and deal with each accordingly but keep an overall upbeat spirit and balance.  Dread is not good for either uphills or downhills.