HillRunner.com https://www.hillrunner.com The site for everyone who loves running. Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:33:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://www.hillrunner.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/hr-icon-100x100.png HillRunner.com https://www.hillrunner.com 32 32 Eliud Kipchoge: 1:59:40 https://www.hillrunner.com/eliud-kipchoge-15940/ https://www.hillrunner.com/eliud-kipchoge-15940/#respond Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:33:10 +0000 https://www.hillrunner.com/?p=64830 Continue reading "Eliud Kipchoge: 1:59:40"

Eliud Kipchoge did it! The first ever sub-2 hour marathon

Eliud Kipchoge, arguably the greatest marathoner of all time, did it! This morning in Vienna Austria, he ran a marathon in 1:59:40. Not the world record because this was not a record eligible event but an astounding performance regardless.

Before I go any further, I want to say this was an amazing run by an amazing runner. Kipchoge is a great runner and, by all reports, a great person. This run was astounding. Even if it doesn’t count as a record, who could have imagined 10 or even 5 years ago that this kind of run was even possible? Kipchoge just did the impossible.

I also want to point out that this event gained a lot of interest inside and outside the running world. Any interest in a positive light is good, right? When people who don’t follow running are asking me about the sport for something that doesn’t involve drugs or other questionable or downright bad behavior, I consider that a good thing. Maybe the sport would benefit from more of these exhibition events?

That said, I’m still a little disappointed that this event happened. Why? Because we missed a chance to see Kipchoge in his prime running head to head against Kenenisa Bekele in his prime, when both were healthy and ready for big things.

Bekele just ran 2:01:41 in the Berlin Marathon, just missing Kipchoge’s world record of 2:01:39 from last year’s Berlin Marathon. Imagine the race that could have been had Kipchoge, obviously primed and ready to go as he proved this morning, would have been in that race.

I don’t for one moment blame Kipchoge for running this event instead of Berlin. It’s a different challenge. It’s the opportunity to become the first person to break 2 hours in a marathon, record eligible or not. It’s a different challenge (finishing first every year in London and Berlin shouldn’t be getting boring but I suspect there’s a little “been there, done that” feeling to it for him by now). I have no doubt he was well compensated for this effort (even for Kipchoge, an elite runner’s career is relatively short and you need to make your money while you can).

However, to me, time trials are not exciting. I didn’t watch the event because I didn’t find the interest in watching a single runner with a rotating group of pacers on an optimized course run a consistent pace for 2 hours, no matter how fast it was. I might have lost a little sleep to see a Kipchoge/Bekele showdown in Berlin.

Hopefully we will see that Kipchoge/Bekele matchup in Tokyo next year. Hopefully both will be healthy and fit when they arrive there. Given Bekele’s recent history, though, I’m concerned that we may have just missed our best chance to see this matchup with both healthy and running well.

Again, I want to congratulate Kipchoge on the great run and I’m in no way going to blame him for doing this event. However, in the back of my mind, I’ll always question whether we missed one of the all time great races in order to have this event.

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Take a moment to enjoy https://www.hillrunner.com/take-a-moment-to-enjoy/ https://www.hillrunner.com/take-a-moment-to-enjoy/#respond Thu, 10 Oct 2019 15:00:11 +0000 https://www.hillrunner.com/?p=64818 Continue reading "Take a moment to enjoy"


October is my favorite month of the year as a runner. The weather is cool and crisp, the trees are changing color, all seems right in the world.

These past few days have reminded me how much I enjoy October and I’ve made sure to take some time to let it all soak in.

Have you done the same recently?

Maybe not every run is enjoyable but, if you ever find yourself going for an extended period of time without having fun in your running, I can almost guarantee your running will suffer because of it.

Make sure you take some time to enjoy your running. Remember that it’s supposed to be something you do because it’s fun.

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Can you talk yourself into better performance? https://www.hillrunner.com/can-you-talk-yourself-into-better-performance/ https://www.hillrunner.com/can-you-talk-yourself-into-better-performance/#respond Thu, 03 Oct 2019 15:00:10 +0000 https://www.hillrunner.com/?p=64752 Continue reading "Can you talk yourself into better performance?"

An interesting question to think about: can changing your self-talk actually help you run better? I’m sure many of us just answered “yes”. If you have negative self-talk, that’s not going to help you run faster. Positive self-talk will, though.

What about more subtle differences? Can slight changes in how you think of things during races help you? As it turns out, they can.

When you refer to yourself in the second person (“You can do it” instead of “I can do it”) you actually do perform better.

Also of note is that more positive references were used in the study. “You/I have to do it” was replaced with “You/I can do it” for example. While it doesn’t seem like this was addressed as part of the test, I have a suspicion this would also make a difference.

This is just one small study but it’s worth trying.

Other reading from the past month (or so):

My daughter is running her first season of cross country (her last meet is actually today) so I found this article on how to support the cross country runner in your life interesting. If you have a child who runs, it’s worth a read. My only piece of advice: your child already has a coach. She or he doesn’t need two coaches with conflicting ideas. Be a supportive parent, not another coach.

Best running advice ever? Maybe a bit of hyperbole but it is very good running advice from some very good running coaches.

A double link: What the Ingebrigtsen brothers can teach us about nature, nurture and running and What makes Norway’s Ingebrigtsen brothers such exceptional runners? Both about some interesting research involving the three elite brothers. The second also includes results from some research into a more broad range of elite athletes.

Heat training could boost your cool weather performance. I’m sure many of us suspected this for a long time, I know I have, but here’s some evidence. There are some interesting timing implications to keep in mind, though.

We’ve been hearing a lot recently about how recovery modalities actually negatively impact your response to workouts. Well, here’s one more article on that.

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Three lessons from my difficult summer https://www.hillrunner.com/three-lessons-from-my-difficult-summer/ https://www.hillrunner.com/three-lessons-from-my-difficult-summer/#respond Thu, 26 Sep 2019 15:00:44 +0000 https://www.hillrunner.com/?p=64606 Continue reading "Three lessons from my difficult summer"


Last week, I mentioned that I had a difficult summer where I made some mistakes. The difficulties were self-inflicted and I wanted to take a few moments this week to discuss my mistakes, with the hope that some of you can hopefully learn from my mistakes and maybe avoid making similar ones yourselves.

So what did I do that went so wrong? Essentially, I didn’t listen to my own advice. As you read what I’m writing below, if you are a runner who has ever been coached by me, the lessons will probably sound familiar. I was not doing a good job following my own advice, something I’m ashamed of and I pledge to do a better job of going forward.

Lesson 1: If something doesn’t feel right, back off

The start of my issues came in May. I was gearing up for an early June race day that was going to include a 5 mile race, followed shortly after by a 2 mile race. In order to prepare for this race day, I was doing mix workouts of mile repeats with short recoveries, followed by pretty aggressive half mile repeats with longer recoveries.

These workouts started out going great. I was making some very solid progress and feeling outstanding. On my planned second to last one of these workouts, I put up some very solid times but I also was feeling the grind. I backed off the training in the coming days but, when the time came for the final planned big workout, I didn’t back off even when things were not feeling right.

I pushed through, even though both before and during the workout I had concerns. I can’t describe the before workout feelings, other than I just didn’t feel totally right. During the workout, on one of the mile repeats, I felt some tightness in my left hip. Still, I pushed through.

Then, in the last 100 yards of my last half mile repeat, the hip locked up on me. I hobbled through the remainder of the workout and my plans for the early June race were over.

In short, I had at least three opportunities to listen to my body and back off before something bad happened. I failed to do so every time the opportunity presented itself. The lesson out of this: listen to your body and, if something doesn’t feel right, back off. I would have been far better off skipping one workout than starting a cycle that would ruin my whole summer.

Lesson 2: When coming back, don’t rush it

In June, I was starting to feel better. After taking some down time to let the hip get better, I was building back up. Wanting to get back to where I left off quickly, I went from an 8 mile week made up of two 4 mile runs to a 16 mile week made up of 4 runs with a longest of 5 miles.

Had I carefully built from that 16 mile week by moving into the 20 mile range with a longest run of 6 or 7 miles but only one run over 5, I probably would have continued the successful return. Instead, I tried to go for 5 runs of 6, 5, 7, 6 and 8 miles. This was entirely too much and I strained my right calf muscle on the 8 mile run. In hindsight, of course I did.

Then, just to top things off, I was beginning to feel better in July, right before a family trip to Colorado. I got too excited about being in the mountains and again tried building up too quickly, all while spending a lot of time hiking in the mountains. I strained the calf again. Fortunately, it didn’t affect the family activities but, running wise, I was on the shelf again.

In short, I tried to pick right back up where I left off. I rushed back too quickly. The lesson out of this: when returning from a layoff, especially but not only if the layoff is due to injury, don’t rush back. I would have been far better served had I taken my time and worked back more gradually.

Lesson 3: What worked in the past may not work now

Why was I not following my own advice? Because I had many years of experience suggesting that the “normal rules” didn’t apply to me. This was probably never completely true to be honest. I just had a higher training capacity than most people so I could stretch things a bit.

However, circumstances change. While, for most runners, this means you build more fitness and generate a higher training capacity over time, there is another side to that curve and that’s what I’m experiencing. I’m not in my 20s anymore and I’m not training at the same level I did when I was in my 20s. I needed to adjust to this reality but didn’t do so quickly enough.

In short, I didn’t account for changing circumstances and changing fitness levels. The lesson out of this: always consider your current fitness level in what you do and never assume you’re invincible. Nobody is invincible and changing fitness levels can mean you are able to do more or, on the flip side, you have to be more gentle on yourself than you had to in the past.

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Learn from your mistakes https://www.hillrunner.com/learn-from-your-mistakes/ https://www.hillrunner.com/learn-from-your-mistakes/#respond Thu, 19 Sep 2019 15:00:15 +0000 https://www.hillrunner.com/?p=64593 Continue reading "Learn from your mistakes"

We all make mistakes at times, what we do with them is what matters

In May, I made a mistake in training. I knew better but thought the “rules” didn’t apply to me. I then made another mistake in June and repeated it in July.

These mistakes cost me but they also taught (or re-taught) me some important lessons.

What lessons did I learn? For now, they don’t matter. I’ll write about them next week. For now, the important lesson is something else.

This week, let’s focus on the fact that I’m learning from my mistakes. Or, at least, I aim to prove over the coming months and years that I’ve learned from them.

Everyone makes mistakes. We feel foolish when we do it but it’s a part of life. The key is how you respond to the mistakes you make. If you learn from your mistake and don’t make the same mistake again, then it was a learning experience. You can move on with a deeper knowledge of how to do better in the future.

If you don’t learn from your mistake, not only did you just make a second mistake. You also almost guaranteed that you will make the same mistake again in the future.

So don’t shy away from your mistakes. Learn from them and vow to not make the same mistakes again.

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Goodhart’s Law and the runner https://www.hillrunner.com/goodharts-law-and-the-runner/ https://www.hillrunner.com/goodharts-law-and-the-runner/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2019 15:00:24 +0000 https://www.hillrunner.com/?p=64494 Continue reading "Goodhart’s Law and the runner"

Keep in mind what the goal really is

“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to become a good measure.” – Goodhart’s Law

This concept, largely discussed in the world of economics, applies quite well to running and fitness in general.

Most of us probably have “indicator” workouts. These are workouts we do that give us some indication of how we can do in an upcoming race.

These workouts can be very helpful if you train for the race and then use the workout as an indicator of fitness. However, what if you train for the workout?

Probably the most famous of these indicator workouts would be Yasso 800s. This workout worked very well for Bart Yasso. However, how well should we expect 800 meter repeats to really work as a predictor of marathon fitness?

Well, if you convince yourself that you want to run a certain time in the marathon, then focus on getting your times for 800 meter repeats down to the level that suggests that’s possible, I hope you can see the issue. You’ll be well trained for a 5K but, if you slack on your long runs and tempo runs to get these workouts in, how do you think your marathon is going to go?

This may be an extreme example but it’s true of any kind of indicator workout. Train for the workout and you’ll do the workout very well but how much will that help you run a better race? Focus on training for the race because that’s what matters most.

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To get better: run faster or longer? https://www.hillrunner.com/to-get-better-run-faster-or-longer/ https://www.hillrunner.com/to-get-better-run-faster-or-longer/#respond Thu, 05 Sep 2019 15:00:41 +0000 https://www.hillrunner.com/?p=64542 Continue reading "To get better: run faster or longer?"

The age old question: to become a better/faster runner, do you need to run faster or run longer?

Alex Hutchinson looked into a debate that was held on this.

In short, I agree with him. If you want to be your best, you better be doing a fair bit of both volume and intensity. The details of where that balance lie really depend on individual factors.

Feeling Fatigued? 3 Strategies to Combat Overtraining Steve Magness offers his thoughts on overcoming overtraining.

When should you hammer your workouts and when should you relax? Alex Hutchinson has some input on that. Don’t get too caught up in the details, though.

What is your optimal stride rate/cadence? Probably slightly faster than you naturally run but the benefit of increasing is so small it’s probably not worth worrying about.

How useful are sleep tracking devices? It should be no surprise that they are less useful than the marketing would suggest.

Lifting to Failure Isn’t Always Better Kind of like running, varying your intensity seems to be best. I’d also argue that it’s very infrequently best to give 100% effort in anything other than a competition.

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Don’t be afraid of failure https://www.hillrunner.com/dont-be-afraid-of-failure/ https://www.hillrunner.com/dont-be-afraid-of-failure/#comments Thu, 15 Aug 2019 15:00:54 +0000 https://www.hillrunner.com/?p=64497 Continue reading "Don’t be afraid of failure"

This COULD happen, if you’re willing to take some risks

You’re at mile 5 of a 10K. You’re close to PR pace but a little short. You could go for it and try to get the PR but you’re not sure if you can maintain the effort needed.

What do you do?

I hope you go for it.

What’s the worst that can happen if you can’t maintain the PR pace? You might struggle in the last half mile. You might lose some time or a few places but the PR isn’t going to happen if you play it safe anyway.

When you talk with your friends at the finish line, they won’t suddenly hate you. They will probably be proud of you for taking the chance. Bottom line, they will still be your friends.

When you get home, your family will still love you. Taking a risk and not having it pay off won’t change that.

It would be disappointing but you will still have supportive friends and a loving family. You will be disappointed but you will move on.

If you do succeed, though, your friends and family will be there to celebrate that great accomplishment.

So take the chance. The down side is not as significant as it may seem in the heat of the moment.

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“See God” workouts and why I (mostly) don’t like them https://www.hillrunner.com/see-god-workouts-and-why-i-mostly-dont-like-them/ https://www.hillrunner.com/see-god-workouts-and-why-i-mostly-dont-like-them/#respond Thu, 01 Aug 2019 15:00:57 +0000 https://www.hillrunner.com/?p=64371 Continue reading "“See God” workouts and why I (mostly) don’t like them"

I was recently asked why the workouts I assign are so easy. While most runners who have been with me for some time know that not all workouts I assign are easy, there’s a very important reason why I prefer workouts to be easier than some others do.

If you follow social media workouts or Flotrack Workout Wednesdays or other such things, you will see plenty of what in college my teammates and I called “see God” or “run ’til you puke” workouts. Many people get the idea from these sources that the best runners are always doing these workouts. The truth is that they aren’t. These workouts make social media and Workouts Wednesdays for two primary purposes.

First, they are more “impressive” (for lack of a better word). They look tough, they look like you’re working very hard. They look “better” for the fans.

Second, they are used to intimidate the competition. Especially the Workout Wednesday workouts you see collegiate teams doing, teams use these to get inside the heads of their competitors. If they can do a blowout workout that has the competition thinking “I couldn’t do that” then maybe the competitors will have that workout in the back of their minds next time they meet.

Neither of these are a good idea of how you should be training or a fully accurate representation of what these teams even do throughout an entire season.

Sure, there are places for these workouts, especially for elite and collegiate athletes. However, they should be used very sparingly. Even elite and collegiate athletes are doing far more sustainable workouts (for their levels of fitness) most of the time.

As for us, under very rare circumstances, we should do a workout or two like these. Far more often, though, we’re better off finishing our workouts strong and feeling like we could handle more. Nudge your fitness up but remember one of the most important rules of long term development: consistency, consistency, consistency. Don’t bury yourself with your workouts. Make sure you can keep things going next week, next month, next season, next year. That’s how you get the biggest improvements over the long term.

Note: This is one of the weekly posts I shared with Club HillRunner.com members earlier this year. If you like it and would like to see more posts like this, you can see at least one per week for just $12/year (that’s less than 25ยข per post, not to mention the other benefits) by signing up here.

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Looking for a shortcut? https://www.hillrunner.com/looking-for-a-shortcut/ https://www.hillrunner.com/looking-for-a-shortcut/#respond Thu, 18 Jul 2019 15:00:00 +0000 https://www.hillrunner.com/2016/06/16/looking-for-a-shortcut/ You picked the wrong sport.


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