Unexpected result? Now what?

Yannick Asselin 2010 05 30

Did you recently run a race and surprise yourself? Or did you run a workout that you didn’t expect to go the way it did? What do you do when this happens?

First, don’t over react. A good result is a good sign, it doesn’t mean everything will now come easy. A bad result may signify a problem but it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to failure.

Let’s break down how we should handle an unexpected result from best case scenario to worst case scenario.
Continue reading “Unexpected result? Now what?”

Race report: 2017 Al’s Run

Team HillRunner.com (minus Andrea – behind the camera) post-race

Al’s Run is always one of my favorite events of the year, largely because of the team aspect. As I’m sure almost everyone reading this is aware, Team HillRunner.com has been represented at Al’s Run for well over a decade by now. If I have the count right, this was the team’s 14th year under the HillRunner.com banner. It’s also my 17th year at Al’s Run and my 16th year as a member of a team (Team GTI first, which became the original core of Team HillRunner.com).

There are two things I absolutely love about this team. Continue reading “Race report: 2017 Al’s Run”

What we learned from the 2017 Berlin Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge – amazing runner but not good enough to overcome Mother Nature.

The 2017 Berlin Marathon was run yesterday. The men’s race was billed as an almost certain world record. It had the most dominant runner of recent years, Eliud Kipchoge, who was coming off his 2:00:25 “Breaking 2” effort. It had Kenenisa Bekele, who last year came up just seconds short of the world record. It had former world record holder and serial 2:03 runner Wilson Kipsang. How could this race not produce a world record?


Well, Kipchoge won in 2:03:32. 35 seconds short of the world record. Bekele and Kipsang didn’t finish. Instead, first time marathoner Guye Adola pushed Kipchoge, even taking the lead late in the race, before finishing just 14 seconds back.


What did we learn from this event?

Continue reading “What we learned from the 2017 Berlin Marathon”

Welcome to the new HillRunner.com!

I’m glad you found your way over!

Everything that I am planning to transfer to the new HillRunner.com is now here! Soon, I’ll post an update on what you can do in the new HillRunner.com.

Missing page/bad link? If you get an “Oops! That page can’t be found” error at any time, I am getting notified. I’ll work on setting up a redirect as soon as possible.

Calculators: The calculators are up and running.

Training Log: The training log is now in the new HillRunner.com! That’s the final piece of the puzzle.

I realize the training log is currently looking a little rough around the edges. To get things over as quickly as possible, I combined the old style formatting with the new style formatting. I’ll be updating the formatting as time passes to bring you a whole new look.

All functionality of the old training log should be working in the new training log (I tested all scenarios I could think of). However, if you do find something that isn’t working, please let me know and I’ll look at it as soon as possible.

Club/Coach pages: These pages are up and, in my opinion, better than ever.

Store/Pictures/other old pages: As of now, I don’t have a plan for these older pages that haven’t seen updates or really traffic for at least several years. Given their lack of traffic, I’m planning on phasing them out.

Accounts: All user accounts have been transferred.

If you received an email with your new password, great. You can log in at any time. If you haven’t, it’s possible your email got lost. You can reset your password.

Questions? Problems? Don’t hesitate to let me know. You can use the contact form  or comment here.

What I learned from 878 days

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.


Oops, not that kind of streaking!

Recently, I was out on a planned 10 mile run when, about 3.5 miles in, the driver of a truck decided to play chicken with me. With no shoulder and no safe place to go off the pavement, I got as close to the edge of the pavement as I could and hoped the driver wouldn’t be homicidal. Fortunately, he wasn’t.

About a half mile later, while running downhill, I felt something in my ankle. Just one step, like I stepped wrong, so I kept going. Shortly after, it came back and was there for every step. I stopped at 4.13 miles. Continue reading “What I learned from 878 days”

When should I run my first marathon?

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.


Shortly before the finish of my first marathon in 2002

This is a question posed by many new runners. It seems like such a straightforward question. Unfortunately, the answer is not as straightforward and, honestly, not what most beginning runners want to hear.

First, there is the question of what your goals in running are and may be in the future. Very few people run a marathon in their first few years of running and go on to reach their ultimate racing potential.

Second, age is a factor. There are countless stories of people running marathons in their teenage years, just to not keep improving beyond their early 20s. Considering the fact that many marathoners don’t reach their peak until their mid 30s, this doesn’t seem to be ideal.

Finally, there is previous exercise levels. Someone who never got off the couch before taking up running is going to take longer to become prepared for a marathon than someone who came from an athletic background, especially if that athletic background was in endurance sports.

What are your goals?

As I stated, the first question is of your goals. If you are not interested in trying to reach your racing potential and instead “just want to finish” a marathon, that is quite different than if you want to race marathons or other distances and want to try to reach your potential.

People who reach their full potential tend to build up to the marathon. They start with shorter races, like 5k and 10k, develop a good ability in those distances, then build up to 10 mile and half marathon type races, eventually possibly even working up to 25k, 30k, or 20 mile races. Once they have reached a high level in the shorter distances, they step up to the marathon. For many runners, their first marathon may come 10 or more years after they began running. Personally, my first marathon came after I had been running for nearly 12.5 years.

On the other hand, not everyone has goals like these. I still think it is a wise idea for anyone, regardless of goals, to build up to the marathon. I would love to say that nobody should run a marathon on less than 3 years of running but I know a lot of people don’t want to accept that. What I will say, and some people don’t even like this, is that you are not ready to run a marathon unless you have been consistently running for at least a year and have been building up for a marathon for at least 6 months.

Age – a touchy subject

Age is a much debated factor. Some people will tell you that a person should never run a marathon before the age of 25. Others will give stories about themselves or people they know who ran a marathon at 16 or 17 years old.

Personally, I fall more toward the first group, although I won’t give a definite age. To put it simply, I think a teenager has more to lose than gain by running a marathon. You have your whole life ahead of you to run marathons and you will be better prepared to run marathons if you wait a few more years.

As I said above, if you want to race marathons and push for your full potential, by all means, take your time. Many elite marathoners don’t run their first until they are in their late 20s or even early 30s. Even if you don’t want to race, your body will be more ready to handle the stress a marathon puts on it if you give it more time training.

Also, you shouldn’t look past the mental aspect. As a teenager, you are still mentally and physically maturing. The longer you give that mental and physical maturity to develop, the better your first marathon experience will be.

Experience matters

Finally, the experience factor. A lot of experienced marathoners take heat on this topic, in large part because of training groups that advertise that a person can go from inactive to running a marathon in 6 months or, recently, even 12 weeks.

I’m sorry to inform you but the large majority of people who try this come out of it with a bad experience in the closing miles. Sure, maybe they say it was the accomplishment of a lifetime but ask them how the last few miles felt. I’ve heard many torture stories.

Marathoning doesn’t have to hurt that badly if you give yourself adequate time for training. My suggestion is to not even think about running a marathon on less than a year of consistent running. I would love to say more but I know most people will just ignore my suggestions if I do. You need to give your body time to adapt to the stresses of running. Going from 0 to 26.2 in even a year’s time is a tall order for anyone. Doing so in 6 months time is playing with fire. Doing so in 12 weeks is downright dangerous. Once again, if your goal is racing or trying to become the fastest you can become, consider taking much longer.

In the end, only you can decide what time is right for you to do your first marathon. I stated my feelings on it here and I hope you will consider what I have to say. Weigh all the advice you are given, who it is coming from, what they stand to gain or lose by your following their advice, and make an informed decision.

Don’t sit all day, don’t stand all day…

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

Just one topic this month because it’s a topic that is a personal peeve of mine.

We all know by now that sitting all day is bad for our health, right? That’s why we have standing desks. But what if standing all day is worse than sitting all day?

Here’s a thought: all things in moderation. Some standing, some sitting, some walking, some running.

I get so frustrated at times when people insist in an all or nothing solution to a problem. We see this a lot in dietary discussions. Fat is bad. No, carbs are bad. No…all things in moderation are fine. The key isn’t avoiding some bogeyman. It’s finding moderation.

Major changes coming in September

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.


I’m going to attempt to explain what will be going on without getting into too many technical details. Hopefully, this won’t sound intentionally vague. Sorry if it does.

HillRunner.com has been around for over 18 years. In that time, I’ve always built upon what has already existed, not wanting to rock the boat or even temporarily take away things that you have become used to having available unless absolutely necessary.

Unfortunately, that leads to a lot of old code that I wish I could clean up but, without major disruption, feel like I can’t. It also leads to problems in other behind the scenes ways, meaning I spend more time on maintenance and less on either writing for HillRunner.com or developing new features.

I’ve been looking for a few years at making some major coding changes. I’ve also wanted to beef up the security at HillRunner.com in response to security leaks other sites have faced. I don’t think I ask you for information that is all that sensitive but we can’t be too careful these days.

In recent months, certain developments on the Internet have forced my hand and I’m now left with no option other than cause significant disruption to HillRunner.com in one way or another. I have to make changes before October or HillRunner.com will be tagged “unsafe” by a major industry player and you’ll be warned that HillRunner.com is unsafe every time you do almost anything interactive at HillRunner.com.

As long as I have to make these disrupting changes, I’m also going to move forward and make the coding changes I’ve been hesitating to make. Essentially, HillRunner.com is going to be rebuilt from the ground up.

As a result, HillRunner.com will be undergoing a significant transition in September. I’m going to attempt to make this as seamless as possible but to make it completely seamless is impossible, which is why I’m devoting a weekly blog post to this.

Tentatively scheduled for Thursday and Friday, September 21st and 22nd, HillRunner.com will be moving to a new server. I will attempt to have as much of the site as possible, especially relatively static pages like the Treadmill Pace Conversions and the Calculators, up and running as soon as the change has been made. However, there may be some issues that need to be worked out. Specifically, I’m concerned about training logs and blog posts.

I’m concerned about training logs because you will need to create a new account to log on to HillRunner.com. I’m working on ideas on how to relink your account to your training log data. I’ll come up with something, even if it involves a lot of work for me. I’m going to make sure nobody who has entrusted their training logs to HillRunner.com loses their history.

I’m concerned about blog posts because we’re going to be on a new blogging software. I’m working on plans to import blog posts so we don’t lose the hundreds we already have but I’m not sure how this will work or if they will be up immediately.

I know this is a concerning transition. I’ve not done this for so long because I’ve constantly been searching for better solutions or hoping one might be built. However, my hand is being forced. Something needs to be done now, I can’t wait any longer for a better solution to be made. I apologize up front for any problems this will cause. Please know I’ll be working as hard as possible to minimize the problems.

As always, I appreciate your support and understanding. We’ll get through this and have a HillRunner.com that is better than ever in the end. Hopefully, we’ll also have one that is easier for me to maintain so I can commit more time to improving the site and adding more content to help you be the best runner you can be.

One question to ask yourself every day

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.


Just a quick post this week. I want you to ask yourself one question today. Then ask the same question every day from now on.

What am I doing today to make myself better?

Sometimes the answer should be a workout that will accomplish a specific purpose. Sometimes it will be an easy run to recover from a prior workout or prepare for a coming workout. Sometimes it will be a rest day. Whatever the case, you should be doing something every day to make yourself a better runner. I want you to think about that every day and think about how you can best accomplish that.

Then execute the plan to the best of your ability.