This Week in Running – Learning the true definition of hills

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! I find myself sitting in a cozy chair with a cozy cup of coffee after a 7 mile run where my legs feel better after I’m done than they did before I started. I guess recovery miles or shake-outs are real after all.


  • a natural elevation of the earth’s surface, smaller than a mountain.
  • an incline, especially in a road:This old jalopy won’t make it up the next hill.
  • an artificial heap, pile, or mound:a hill made by ants.
  • a small mound of earth raised about a cultivated plant or a cluster of such plants.

Above is what I found when I looked for the definition of the word “hill”. When it comes to running, I don’t think that any of these accurately portray the meaning. I’ll try mine:

  • The portion of a run where lungs burn, legs fatigue and goals die.
This guy makes it look easy!

This week’s training was an “easy” week, with a reduced volume. I finished up with 39 miles, which a month ago would have been a lot but it’s all relative. I’m a 6 day a week runner now, so a lot has changed. My long run went from 15 miles last week to just 12 this week, but what I gave up in distance I certainly added in difficulty. More on THAT to follow…

Let’s quickly recap Week 4 of my marathon training (it’s only been FOUR weeks?! My goodness…):

Monday: A 6 miler partially with running buddy MC. There was supposed to be coffee afterward and there was coffee, but I ended up drinking along because somebody went to the wrong coffee shop. Ooopsie donkey.

Track Tuesday: 12x200m – The goal pace was :40 seconds each, but Robbie and I pushed each other well. We ended up ranging from :35 to :39. We are putting in WORK. Preston and Brooke were there too to keep us from slacking. Brooke was even nice enough to keep time for us so we weren’t looking at our watches obsessively.

Wednesday: No running. Thank you so much.

Thursday: I begged Coach Craig to give me a full rest day and she agreed, but then I felt better and decided on a little over a threasy. This one was titled “Headlamps are overrated” because I got hot and pulled off my Buff and with it, my headlamp. Batteries flew around and I had to finish the run in the dark. Yet another Ooopsie donkey.

Friday: This ended up being about 4.75 miles with a climb up to Kemper St. I used to call that a climb. I won’t anymore. Little did I know that I’d soon find out what a climb REALLY is. Nice to meet you, Roanoke.

Saturday: 12 miles. Piece of cake, right? Oh boy did I not know what I was getting into. Running buddy MC had been snickering at a few of my previous “hilly” training runs and now I know why. The Blue Ridge Marathon course has some serious Vert. We ran part of the course, just to give me a sample. I felt it. I was rough. The positives were that our pace was pretty good and I recovered from the big climbs pretty quickly. When 12 miles came, I didn’t have it in me to add even a single mile. MC did (of course).

First trip up to the big Star!

Sunday: I planned for 6 and ended up with about 7. Yet another Ooopsie donkey. Ah well. I ran with Alissa and Tracy knowing full well that they were doing 8, but I didn’t come up with a good plan to cut it to 6. As I said, the legs feel better now than they did before the run. 🙂

I think the key to my success is learning to be patient with hill climbs. I’ve always been a “let’s just get this over with” kind of guy. That’s been effective for moderate climbs at shorter distances, but could really backfire for the hills (mountains) of Blue Ridge.

About Blue Ridge… I’m pretty excited about this race! With about 10 weeks to go, I know I can make a ton more progress in getting ready. The climbs will be TOUGH, but I can take them. It’s gonna be fun to try at least. I’m certainly going to need the post-race beers at the finish and whatever else I can get my hands on.

Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon

If you want to join me at “America’s Toughest Road Marathon”, it’s not too late! I have a discount code to hook you up with. Use BRMRAVE for 20% off of your choice of distance!




4 Replies to “This Week in Running – Learning the true definition of hills”

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