“Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement. The more you repeat something, the stronger you get.”
- Joe Catalano
This year I found a strategy for running up hills. I pull in my abs, and pick my knees up nice and high. By doing this, I can use the strength in my legs and core to pull myself up the hill, instead of pushing hard and sucking air. I don’t know if it’s the “right” strategy for running, but it works for me.
I clearly remember the moment I discovered this strategy. I was going up a short, but very steep incline at about mile five of a long run. It was definitely by mistake. Wow, I thought, That was kinda cool. When I got to the next hill, I consciously re-created the same strategy. It worked again. I made it to the top of the hill without feeling like I was going to puke. After that day, I practiced the same hill strategy over and over again on every run. It’s best for short, steep hills, and not necessarily long, gradual inclines. But it’s a strategy that works for me and one that I do almost automatically at this point.
Can’t we use this same strategy with any obstacles we face? I don’t mean pulling in your core, necessarily, but finding something that works for you and repeating it over and over again until it becomes second nature. For example, let’s think about healthy ordering when you go out to eat. It can feel unnatural and tedious to go online ahead of time to scope out the menu and the calorie counts. But if you do it once, and then again, and then again, soon enough you’ll know the best choices to make at all of your favorite restaurants and you won’t even have to think about it again.
Or, let’s do it with organization. This is a daunting task for me and one that I am focusing on for 2013. First, I’m putting in the effort to get organized (this is the Find a Strategy step). Then, I’ll practice over and over again by taking the time to make the system work. For example, putting away my clean laundry instead of letting it pile up and living out of baskets. If I practiced putting away a load as soon as it came out of the dryer, soon it would become second nature and I wouldn’t have to spend an hour every month sorting through the pile of clothes on the floor, trying to remember what’s clean and what isn’t.
What are your hills in life? Do you have a strategy that works for conquering them?