Relativity

May 9, 2017

As Einstein once said, “Whether or not a race course or trail in the DC area is ‘hilly’ is relative to the individual.”  This is your reminder to have your own rating scale for hills and courses based on your own running experiences and perceived fitness.  

 

As I remind the runners I coach each year that head up to Boston for the marathon, Heartbreak Hill is overrated if you’re a DMV area runner.  Relative to us (DMV area residents), that hill isn’t too daunting. Relative to someone from most parts of Florida, then sure, it’s a doozy.  I address this topic in my book “The Art of Run Training” in a few sections; most notably the section titled “The DC Advantage for Runners,” as well as the section “Long Hills Don’t Exist.”  For more advice, you can click those links and check out the respective Blogs for both of those points.  

 

Additionally, make sure you reserve the word “hilly” for courses that deserve it.  The fitter you become, the less effect the smaller inclines have on you, so don’t do them the favor of considering them hills any more.  Use that word sparingly.  You can make distinctions between “hilly” vs. “rolling” vs. “incline" vs. “gently rolling.”  

The same approach applies to the weather.  “Hot” is 90-degree weather; it hasn’t been hot yet.  “Warm” is a better word to use, or “fair.”  Hilly and hot conditions might set you up for an adverse mental state going into your run, whereas, “scenic” or “sunny” have a positive connotation that frames the run differently.  So, with the exception of perhaps your run coach, don’t let other people’s perspectives of what constitutes a hilly course change your opinion too much, or at least as it pertains to strangers.  Trusted run friends and race directors certainly have valid opinions, but either way, make sure your own perspective of your own fitness is the guiding light.  

 

E = mc2 would have been an impossible riddle for all of us to solve, but to Einstein it was (eventually) relatively easy.  ‘Twas not a Heartbreak-Hill-esque problem for him, just a “roller.”  Choose your own vocabulary and make it work for you.  Use some words only sparingly.

 

Train hard!

 

Mike

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