2021 review and 2022 preview at HillRunner.com

I’ll be completely honest, I’m on vacation right now and writing this pretty quickly. So this will be a short review/preview but I just want to let everyone know I’m still looking at how HillRunner.com is doing and always thinking about how to make it better.

I’m going to be short on the 2022 preview for one primary reason: unless I hear something from you, sometimes I just go with the flow and figure out what to do. I promise that, every year, I at least try a few things to make the experience for the community better or try to reach new people. I will continue that in 2022 but what 2022 will bring, unless I hear from you, will be somewhat unpredictable.

As for 2021, the one big change I did was off the site and in the social media world. On social media, I started doing videos. I have been offering 1 minute or less recaps of the blog posts I write and post them to several platforms. Among others, if you want to see them, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even TikTok (yes, I know, I’m old for that but trying to reach out to a different audience to share ideas and hopefully help another generation of runners) and probably the social media platform you like most. Just look for rwhillrunner and, if I’m not there or not posting the videos there, let me know.

In the past, I shared the most viewed blog posts regardless of when they were written and I enjoyed that. So here it is. Keep in mind, most viewed posts of the year isn’t perfect but it’s a decent measure of what you’re finding interesting, whether it’s something new that hit a chord or an old favorite. With that, in typical countdown format, here are the top 10 viewed blog posts of 2021:

10: Cutback weeks

It’s interesting and good to see this topic show up in the year’s top 10. I’m still a strong believer in cutback weeks almost 6 years after I first wrote this post. We push ourselves hard, sometimes harder than we probably should. Scheduling intentional rest is an important way to prevent us from pushing ourselves too hard. As with most things almost 6 years old, I’d write it a little differently now but I still stand by the overall message and feel it holds up well. Maybe, in 2022, I’ll update this and re-publish it.

9: Spotlight workout: hilly long runs

I guess 2016 was a good year for my writing. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean that was my peak. I should write more spotlight workouts but the hilly long run is such a powerful workout this will probably always be one of my favorites.

8: Intermittent fasting, vitamin D, training by feel

A roundup from 2018 is still getting attention. I guess at least two of the topics are still getting significant attention. The interesting thing is that, for runners, I’d argue the other topic is probably the most valuable one.

7: When should I run my first marathon?

Oh boy, this one goes way back. I originally wrote this in 2000 or 2001. Obviously, I’d write it a bit differently 20 years later but I still believe a lot of people rush into the marathon, to their detriment.

6: Ice baths: The cold or the water? Blister prevention tip

Another from 2016. Have I been on a slide for the past 5 years? I better step up my game I guess. As for this post, ice baths are still a popular topic and I found this topic of the benefit of both the water and the cold for recovery. Also still popular is figuring out how to prevent blisters. I have to admit that I haven’t tried the method mentioned here but it is still an idea that interests me.

5: Combat boots vs. running shoes, more evidence that more running is good for you

I still like this study comparing injury rates between combat boots and running shoes. In short, the result calls into question the value of running shoes in preventing injury. This is one that, even over 6 years after I wrote about it, I still think about and reference sometimes. As for the other topic, well, it’s one I write about often.

4: SMART goals for the runner

I just resurfaced this topic a week ago. I agree with you, this is a good one. A good way to think about setting race goals. Of course, I do think there is value to setting training goals and they need to be a little different but most of these principles can still apply to those.

3: Speed = stride length * stride rate. Period.

The first in a 3 part series of blog posts. One of my favorites of all time. I still see a lot of blog posts about how the key to speed is X or Y variable. Every time I see one, I read it and the “key” variable always falls into one of these two variables and I would vigorously argue is not really more important than so many other variables.

2: Winter Running

One I resurface every year in November, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that a blog post about winter running written by a guy who has run through decades worth of Wisconsin winters might be popular. This seems like a good time to bring up the post again so here it is.

1: Treadmill Pace Conversions FAQ

Not a surprise that a FAQ I wrote about the most popular page of this site would become the most popular blog post every year.

So nothing from 2021? Hopefully, these posts just haven’t had the time to gather the clicks as the ones that existed for the entire year and had time even before to show up in Google rankings.

Looking forward to 2022

As I mentioned, I’m not going to list out some great project I’m going to take up in 2022 right now. I don’t know, I’ll see where things go and pick out a few things to try out. When I share plans about working on this or that, I sometimes get questions when something just doesn’t work out or seem worthwhile. So I won’t get into the plans I have now because I don’t know whether they will happen.

I do know that those video recaps I’m posting to social media will continue and I will work on making them better. They will always be the same candid talks but hopefully I’ll become a better speaker and better with the phone.

I will also be working on the quality of my writing. Apparently, I need some work to get back to where I was in 2016.

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