Best Tips for Running Hills

I survived my second week of hill running today and while I was pushing up the hill, I thought, there must be some sort of trick to this? As I’m still relatively new to running (started last March) and am now training for Big Sur, a race known for its hilly course, I thought I’d take to Twitter and ask my followers, what are the best tips for running hills? Here’s what they said…
  1. Ok runners, I need your help. What are your tips for running up really, really big hills? #marathontraining #runchat
  2. @FitHappyGirl Short steps, pump those arms, head down, focus on steady breathing, most of all enjoy the process of climbing the hill.
  3. @FitHappyGirl #runchat #believe you can do it for staters!! Pump the arms and push from the knees and also practice hill #sprints
  4. Get a power song “@FitHappyGirl: Ok runners, I need your help. tips for running up really, really big hills? #marathontraining #runchat
  5. @fithappygirl Try powerhiking or run short strides, drop shoulders, lean forward slightly, maintain steady pace. #marathontraining #runchat
  6. @FitHappyGirl Attack it like a knight approaching a dragon. Slow and steady at the base, save your strength for the head ;)
  7. @NMoralesNBC @fithappygirl stay on your toes, slow down, watch your heart rate. If you are heart rate training you might even need walk
  8. @NMoralesNBC @fithappygirl What’s the ‘downside’ in this? Is @ryangosling at the bottom of said hills w/wine & flowers? “Hey girl …”
  9. @FitHappyGirl Lean into the hills and raise your knees up as you stride.
  10. @NMoralesNBC @FitHappyGirl trail runner 4 years, don’t look up, don’t look for the top. You will get there, keep the head down n push!
  11. @FitHappyGirl Fast walking instead of running, making sure my breathing stays steady and then resuming normal pace at the top. #runchat
  12. @NMoralesNBC @FitHappyGirl small, mincing steps; keep your eyes up; power up your arms swing; and mentally break up the hill. #gogetem
  13. @fithappygirl @NMoralesNBC Don’t underestimate walking big hills in terms of saving energy and your legs.
  14. @FitHappyGirl – 1- Get mentally ready for pain 2- slow down and focus on both quads and both calves 3 – endure pain from #1.

Week 8: Sub-50 10-K (and Half-Marathon) Training

keep runningI really don’t know why I keep calling this my sub-50 10-K training wrap up because I’ve strayed so far from my original training program in order to gear up for this last-minute half-marathon but oh well! Here are last week’s training runs and workout:

Monday– I did a yoga workout for about 30 minutes to cross-train. I didn’t have much time because it was Christmas Eve and my family and I planned to spend the day in Boston before I had to go back to Pennsylvania. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a workout for family time but I was totally fine with that because I knew I wouldn’t get to see them for awhile.

Tuesday– Christmas! No workout for me today because I spent the morning with my family, squeezing every last minute out of my visit home for the holidays. I then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening driving back to Pennsylvania for work the next day.

Wednesday– 4.25 mile run during lunch at 9:10/mile average pace

Thursday– 5 miles at 9:48/mile pace- just wanted to get in some really easy paced mileage

Friday– 4.2 miles- I decided to do speed work on Friday on the treadmill because it was FREEZING outside! I did a five minute warm up and then 200m at easy pace followed by 4x400m at race pace (8:06/mile) with 200m at easy pace in between. I finished the run with about a mile cool down at easy pace.

Saturday– ran 4.2 miles in the snow! I ran 9:17/mile pace and it was such a relaxing run because the snow was just starting to fall but hadn’t stuck to the ground yet.

Sunday– I was supposed to do my long run on Sunday but when I woke up to 30mph winds with gusts of 50mph and below freezing temps, I figured I could push it off to Monday since I didn’t have work.

Monday– 12 miles at 9:20/mile pace – I was completely shocked at how well this run went! I felt really strong and comfortable the entire time. I didn’t have to stop or walk at all and I finished feeling like I could keep running. This run was an amazing indicator of how the half-marathon will go (knock on wood!) and I can’t wait to see the results of this training!

Happy running!

Week 7: Sub-50 10-K (and Half-Marathon) Training

Training went really well this week! I’m feeling really strong (knock on wood) and I keep on surprising myself with how awesome my paces are. I haven’t seen a pace in the upper 9’s or 10’s in weeks and what’s even better is I’m feeling more comfortable at paces in the upper 8’s (which means I can really go even faster!). Here’s a rundown of my runs this week:

Monday– I had to cover a story after work so instead of going to bootcamp I did 35 minutes of Detox Flow Yoga from Lululemon’s YouTube channel. I also did some planks and ab exercises after because I’ve been slacking in that department.

Tuesday– 5.2 miles, 46 minutes, 8:50/mile pace

Wednesday– 5.5 miles, 44 minutes, 8:00/mile pace (I ran with some of my faster co-workers and this was definitely a workout but it was great!)

Thursday– 2.94 miles, 24:58 minutes, 8:27/mile pace

Friday– Rest day and travel back to Massachusetts for Christmas!

Saturday– 4.5 miles, 40 minutes, 8:50/mile pace

Sunday– 10 miles! 1 hour 33 minutes, 9:18/mile pace

My long run this week (10 miles) was my longest run since my half-marathon in September and I felt extremely good! It was a really cold and very windy run but I still had a pretty good pace with the entire 10. I didn’t stop to walk at all and ran up the hills without any problems. I’m feeling good about the half coming up in January! Happy running!

Week 6: Sub-50 10-K (and Half-Marathon) Training

try hard every day

(via Pinterest)

I have been really slacking on writing my weekly running round-ups lately. There are a few reasons for this: 1. I’m extremely busy with work; 2. This is a really busy time of the year in general; and, 3. I’m not sure how helpful they are to you guys, my readers.

The reason I started my blog was to document my experience with a Couch-to-5-K program last February/March. I wanted to use my blog mostly as a training log. As I finished the program and came up with new running goals I thought I’d continue doing round-ups of my training runs throughout the week. It also helps me to stay consistent with my writing but when I’m super busy with work, I kind of forget to do them.

But, after asking some fellow blogger friends, many of them said, write what you want to write, your blog is for you, and if it’s helpful to you then do it! So I’m going to continue doing it but I’m going to go about it a little differently. Instead of breaking down my workouts and runs each day I’m just going to do bullet points with distance, time and pace. If you’d like a more comprehensive description of follow me on Daily Mile where I usually go a little more in-depth with my run breakdowns.

Phew, glad I got that out of the way. And now, here are last week’s workouts:

Monday- 45 minutes of Men’s Health Delta Fit bootcamp at the Rodale gym. Involved lifting, squats and plyometrics.

Tuesday- Easy mileage day, 5 miles, 47:50, average pace of 9:33

Wednesday- Intervals with coach, 5 miles total, 37:00, average pace 7:24 (woah!)

–       2 mile warm-up

–       200m, 400m, 600m, 200m, 200m, 400m, 600m

–       ½ mile cool down

Thursday- 3 miles (semi-faster), 25:58, average pace of 8:39

Friday- REST!

Saturday- Long run, 9 miles, 1:24, average pace of 9:20

Sunday- was supposed to do a shakeout and it didn’t happen, oh well

Overall it was a really solid week of training. I hope everyone else had a great week!

Week 5: Sub-50 10K Training

Me and my friends Cassie and Madeline doing our Race for Recovery 5-K

Me and my friends Cassie and Madeline doing our Race for Recovery 5-K

Another great week of training has come and gone. I had some really great moments this week including an (unofficial) 5-K PR, a fantastic trail run and the Race for Recovery. I also ran my highest mileage week ever this week for a total of 27 miles!

I started off training this week with some cross-training on Monday. I did 2 miles on the elliptical and then 40 minutes of strength training. According to my training plan, I can either rest or cross train on Mondays and so far, I’ve cross trained every Monday. No rest days!

Tuesday’s run was a 3 mile tempo and I hit every split at my tempo pace or under which was really great. My first mile came in at 7:57/mile which is really fast for me and I was honestly a little surprised to see that on my watch. My second mile was a bit slower at 8:06/mile but still below my tempo pace of 8:12/mile. In the third mile I decided to try to kick it up and hit 8 flat but hit 8:02/mile which was still pretty awesome. Since my paces were so great I decided to run .1 mile extra to see what my 5-K time would have been and I finished at 24:14 which is by far my fastest 3.1 miles ever and it felt great!

I decided to run trails with two of my speedy coworkers on Wednesday because we had some trail shoes to test out. I was a little apprehensive about running with them because they are just so much faster than me but they assured me they wouldn’t leave me behind so I went. We ran about a mile and a half to the entrance of the trail which was kind of annoying because the shoes were clearly not meant to run on pavement but once we got to the trail they felt great.

The actual trail part of the run was about 3 miles of very steep inclines and jagged declines. The trail goes up a mountain near our office and gets pretty narrow on the way up but the views are beautiful. I will admit though, the ascent was pretty hard and I was forced to hike for some of it. I’m not too great at trails but I do really like them, especially the downhill because I feel like I’m literally frolicking through the woods. The entire run was just over 6 miles but it took us longer than the average 6-mile run just because we all run trails slower than we run on the road.

My ankles and achilles were killing me on Thursday post-trail run but I had intervals on tap and couldn’t skip out. I had to do 3x1200m at race pace (8:02/mile) with 400m easy pace in between. I did these on the treadmill and although they were not fun, I was surprised at how good my ankles felt once I actually got running.

Friday was my rest day which was good because my legs were completely dead and it gave me time to rest up for the Race for Recovery on Saturday morning. I took part in NYC Running Mama, Michele Gonzales’, Race for Recovery to raise funds for Sandy relief efforts on Saturday. She asked that everyone run either a 5-K or 10-K wherever they were so I ran with two of my friends at a local 5-K in Bethlehem. My roommate and I ran to the race start line to add on an extra 1.3 miles and ran the 5-K with our friend. It was great to get out there and although I didn’t time myself it felt good to run watch/GPS free for once!

I had my long run on Sunday and when I woke up, looked out my window and saw rain, I was less than thrilled. I procrastinated the run until noon and finally made myself get out the door, suck it up and get over the fact that I’d have to run in the rain. Turns out my run was fantastic! I did an 8-mile out and back run in 1:19 (9:31/mile). My legs felt so fresh and strong, I really couldn’t believe it. I almost wanted to keep going but towards the end of the run it started to rain harder.

During my long run I did a lot of thinking and couldn’t help but realize this is the first training cycle I’ve done where I haven’t felt super tired or achy or sore and I am so thankful for that (knock on wood!). I’ve never felt stronger and my paces are feeling much more comfortable. My goals with this time-goal for a 10-K was to get faster overall and I’m definitely starting to notice some changes.

I hope your training went well this week too! Also, I know I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to but that will change soon! I’ve been so busy getting acclimated with my new job that I’ve just felt completely shot by the time I get home after work. But don’t fret, I’m going to make an effort to keep it up :)


Week 4: Sub-50 10K Training

Personal BestLast week’s training was really phenomenal- seriously I think I had a breakthrough. I’m not just talking about a running breakthrough- although my paces were on point and I had good mileage- but I’m talking about a personal breakthrough. I work with a lot of really good, really fast, really experienced runners. So, when I have a new goal, sometimes I get embarrassed because it’s not as amazing as the goals my coworkers have but I often forget I JUST started running in February and it really is amazing to see how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time.

My new goal I’m working on right now is to run a sub-50 10K, mostly because I want to get faster, but also because I’ve never had a time goal for a race. I also just found out I’ll be running my second half marathon in January (yikes/yay!) so I’m now trying to merge both trainings into one. But, I’m really excited about both of these goals because they will be the perfect way to bring in the new year. Also, this training so far has taught me to not be ashamed or embarrassed about my goals because every runner is so different. All that really matters is that I reach my own goals and even if I don’t, so be it, it’s not the end of the world.

That being said, my training was GREAT last week. I started off on Monday with some cross-training and tried a new bootcamp class at the gym. I’ve never done bootcamp before but I thought it would be a good idea to switch up my strength training. While the class was only 30 minutes and I used lighter weights, it turned out to be harder than I thought! My legs and arms were sore for days, although I tried to convince them otherwise…

I had a tempo on Tuesday which was a little difficult on dead legs but I nailed my goal pace of 8:06/mile for 3 miles! Then, on Wednesday I ran 5.3 miles on the treadmill after work. I was kind of dreading this run and as I headed to the gym, I seriously thought about turning around and going home. However, once I got going I felt really great (despite my still-sore legs) and I ran at an easy 9:26/mile.

Thursday was a speedwork day and I knew this was really going to be challenging. My plan had me running 3x1200m intervals at 8:02/mile with 400m easy pace in between. After a two minute warm-up I started on the first interval and felt surprisingly good. I made it through the entire workout without any resting or walking which was the first time I’ve done so with speedwork, so I was pretty excited about that!

I ran during lunch on Friday with a bunch of coworkers. We did a great 4.5 mile out-and-back in the neighborhoods and trails around our office. We said we were going to take it really easy but ended up picking it up a bit and running an average 9:16/mile.

I rested on Saturday because I went to NYC for the day (!) but did my long run on Sunday. I was only supposed to run 6 miles but felt so good and decided to run a little over 7 miles. My pace was also great, with an average of 9:14/mile with faster intervals in the mid- to low- 8s!

Overall, my training was really great and I am becoming much more proud and less embarrassed about my sub-50 goal. I think I will be able to hit it, especially with the adrenalin associated with racing.

How did your training go last week? Let me know in the comments below!

Week 3: Sub-50 10K Training

A beautiful Thanksgiving picture from my sister Georgia and myself :)

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and is gearing up for the holiday season!- I know I am! My training this week went really well although I missed two of my training runs for very good reasons.

I knew my training was going to be affected this week because I traveled back to Massachusetts to be with my family for Thanksgiving. In preparation for this I mixed up the earlier part of my week by cross training on Monday but then doing my speed work on Tuesday. My speed work went really well and it was a much harder workout than the one I did the previous week. This workout called for 5×800 meter intervals at race pace (8:02/mile) with 400m easy pace in between.

This. Was. Hard.

But I did it! Although it was really challenging and I REALLY wanted to stop after the fourth interval, I felt really great after finishing the workout. I was extremely proud of myself for not stopping when my legs were begging me to do so and couldn’t believe I was able to run 4 miles total at an average pace of 8:32! I’m getting there!

I planned to wake up early on Wednesday to do my 3-mile tempo run before getting in my car and traveling up to Massachusetts all day. The morning came and I woke up a half an hour before my alarm ready to run! I checked the weather and the thermometer read 27 degrees. Burr! But that didn’t discourage me and I was out the door at 7 a.m.

The run itself wasn’t so great. I didn’t hit the goal pace but I was having a hard time breathing because it was just so cold. My nose was runny and my mouth was filled with mucus but I was still proud of myself for getting out there and getting my miles in before a long car ride up to New England.

I left my apartment in PA just after 9 a.m. and arrived back in Massachusetts around 2:30 p.m. My mom came running out the front door and greeted me with a huge embrace. I know I’ve only been away from home for just over a month but it’s felt like ages and I was just so happy to be home.

I had planned on running 6-miles on Thursday (Thanksgiving) but when I woke up and sat at the breakfast table with my family while we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade I didn’t want to leave. I was having such a nice time with my family and my mom asked me to help her cook so I decided to skip my run and spend some quality time with my family instead. I was able to squeeze in 30 minutes of power flow yoga though before it was time to head to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, but honestly I’m glad I decided to forgo my run and spend time with my family- being away from home has made me realize how important my time with them is.

I had a lovely Thanksgiving with my extended family and woke up on Friday feeling great and ready for a run. I got in 6 miles at 9:30/mile pace around the neighborhoods in my town. It was really great to get out on the roads in my town again after having run in PA the past few weeks.

This was my last run of the week because I decided to spend the rest of my time at home with my family. Although I’m disappointed I missed out on my last two runs of the week, I was happy to have the time with my parents and sister. If anything, being away from home and then coming back made me realize although running is really important to me there are other things that are much more important.

I’m not worried about this impacting my training at all either. I have an extra week at the end of my training before my goal race so I can play catch up then.

Have you ever skipped out on a training run to spend time with loved ones? Tell me your story in the comments below!

Week 2: Sub-50 10K Training

This past week was another great week for training. I’m nervous to get too excited about how my training is going because, in the past, I’ve had problems with injuries/soreness but so far so good! That being said, it’s only the second week so I’m taking it day by day.

It’s been really great though to run five days a week. Most training plans I did before had me running four days a week, sometimes only three, but I really like running more often. I’m a strong believer in the fact that the more you run, the better you become. Which, is really starting to prove true in my times and how I’ve been feeling on my runs.

The week started off with cross training on Monday. I went to the gym after work and did two miles on the arc trainer (elliptical type machine) and then did a bunch of strengthening exercises- squats, lunges, lifting weights and ab exercises. I also made sure to stretch a lot too because I want to avoid any muscle tightness-related injuries.

On Tuesday, I had a 2.5 mile tempo run at 8:12/mile. I did this run during my lunch hour and nailed the pace time which felt amazing. It was fast but my breathing was really steady and my legs felt strong.

Wednesday was an easy paced 5 mile run. Unfortunately I had to do this run on the treadmill but I got it done. I ran 5 miles at 9:50/mile. When I first got going, my ankles were really bothering me for the first mile. I think this is due in part to the treadmill but after the first mile I felt really good and finished the run with no problems.

Thursday was my speedwork day and I had to do 4x800m at race pace (8:02/mile) with 400m resting in between. This was a 10 percent increase from last week’s speedwork but I was able to finish it and feel good. Eight hundreds are HARD, there’s no doubt about that, but I am really seeing results in my long runs and easy runs.

Friday was a complete rest day!

Saturday was my long run of 6 miles. According to my training plan I was supposed to run 6 miles at an easy pace (9:50-11:05/mile) but, instead I ran at 9:23/mile average and my fastest mile was at race pace (8:02)!! I was so happy on this run but I just felt amazing. I actually really wanted to keep running but I need to stick to the training plan to avoid injury. I don’t know what it was- the speedwork, my tempos, running more frequently- but I felt amazing on this run. Also, this was the first time in a VERY long time that I actually ran on the road with music. I always listen to music when I run on the treadmill but I usually don’t when I run on the road. However, I think this had something to do with my faster paces because I was jamming the whole time!

After my long run I came home and did some post-run yoga stretches and foam rolled.

Sunday (today) I just did an easy 4-mile recovery run. I ran at 9:27 pace and felt really good. It was a bit colder out today but I felt comfortable and strong. I also did some post-run yoga after my run today and was home in time to congratulate my cousin on finishing her first full marathon!

Training is looking good this week as well, although I’m a little concerned with when I’m going to get all my runs in because I’m traveling home for Thanksgiving. I may have to juggle the training plan around to accomodate my travel plans and some much needed family-time.

Also I officially signed up for my goal race 10K and it will be on February 3- it’s a Superbowl 10K! This actually gives me an extra week of training so if my schedule gets messed up because of the holidays, I have some wiggle room on the outset of the training program. I hope y’all had great training runs last week and I know everyone will run happy this week because it’s finally the start of the holiday season! Happy running!

Week 1: Sub-50 10K Training

Last week was a week of first in the life of Fit Girl Happy Girl. For one, I became a Greatist ambassador and it marks my very first ambassador-ship as a blogger! Also, I ran my very first lunch run and PR my mile time (according to my Garmin at least). Another first, which really wasn’t a first, but I ran five days last week, something I hadn’t done in a little over a month (I’ve been sticking to three or four times a week). And, to top it all off, I feel great!

As you may or may not know, I’m following a new training plan that will hopefully get me on track to run a 4?:?? 10K. I’ve never officially run a 10K race, although I have definitely run 6.2 miles (plus!) and know I can do it in under 60 minutes. Naturally, my next goal was to run it in under 50 minutes.

I’m following a training plan I saw in this month’s issue of Women’s Running. The plan has me running five days a week, cross training one day a week and taking one full rest day.

I started the plan last Monday and Mondays are cross training days so I hit the gym to do 20 minutes on the elliptical (really an arc trainer) and strengthening exercises afterwards. I want to get better at strengthening my leg muscles to avoid injuries so I’m hoping with this new plan, and the extra down time that comes with winter, I’ll be able to focus on that.

Tuesday I had a tempo on tap and I was determined to run my first lunch run. At my knew job, most of my coworkers go running during their lunch hour, so I thought I had to try it! Well, I LOVED it! It was great to not only get my run out of the way in the middle of the day but it was also amazing to get outside and get some fresh air! What made the run even better was I nailed my tempo pace of 8:12/mile and felt really great.

Wednesday I had to do 4-5 miles at an easy pace of 9:50/mile. I did a little over 4 because I was exhausted from work that day and my legs felt a little tired.

Thursday was by far the hardest day because it was speedwork. I hadn’t done a track workout in a few weeks and since I’m still new to the area, I don’t have a track to workout on so I had to do it on the treadmill. The plan called for 3 x 800m at race pace of 8:02/mile, with 400m easy pace in between. This was my first time doing 800s and they are no joke! I finished the workout and was pooped but glad I was able to power through it. (According to the plan, I increase this workout over the next 11 weeks!)

Friday was my full REST day! Phew!

Saturday was my “long run.” I put long run in quotes because according to the plan, I only had to run 5 miles at easy pace, which is nothing compared to the half marathon training I just finished up. I felt good on this run except for a little knee pain towards the end but I finished strong.

Sunday was a 4 mile recovery run at an easy pace but I ended up running about a 9:09 average mile. The weather was so beautiful and I felt great so I thought I’d kick it up a bit.

Overall I thought the week went really well and I’m excited to see what’s in store this week!

Are you training for something? If so, how did you runs go last week?

Running Rut Reversed

Lately I’ve been in a bit of a running rut. In part I think it’s because: 1. I just started an AMAZING new job 2. I just moved 3. I’ve been super busy but most importantly I haven’t been following any kind of training plan.

When I first started running I started with a goal- to run a 5k. Quickly, I realized I was actually good at running distance so I decided to run a half marathon. It’s now been a month since I ran my first half and I’m thinking to myself, now what? I remember when I was training for the half, I kept thinking, I can’t wait until the half is over and I don’t have to have a training plan dictate when and how much I should run. But now I miss that consistency and scheduling. While it has been fun to run whenever I want to and for however many miles I want, I miss the guidance you get in a training plan.

So what should my next goal be? Well, I have a larger picture goal of running a full marathon in 2013, but I think I need to do a few things before I start looking for the perfect first marathon. First off, I want to focus on getting my half marathon time down. I want to run at least one (hopefully two) half marathons in the spring before I start training for a full marathon. However, that still leaves me without a training plan for a very long winter. Solution?

I’m going to run a 10K in January, or February. I’ve actually never run a 10K and I found a great training plan in this month’s Women’s Running magazine to run a sub-50 minute 10K. This is a little bit of an ambitious time for me but I think I can do it! Also, I think focusing on a speedy 10k will help me then gear up to train for a faster half marathon.

The training plan will have me running five days a week with a mix of long runs, speed workouts, hill workouts, tempos- the works! I’ll upload the whole plan at some point this week and will fill you in on how the training goes throughout the training period. It’s going to be interesting to train as we head into winter but I think in the end it will be worth it. Plus, as the saying goes: “If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done!”

Have you ever been in a running rut? Tell me how you got out of it in the comments section below!