Zen on the Run

So today on my running agenda was hill repeats. The purpose of hill repeats are to build power and endurance in the legs and cardiovascular system.  Incorporating hill repeats into a training program will make you a better runner.  Faster, fitter and stronger.

Hill repeats are not only hard physically but also mentally.  Here are a few things that work for me to help manage the mental part of a hard run.  Trust me, I’ve had lots of practice 🙂


Mantras are great and I highly recommend them.  They are short phrases that one uses to either set the tone for a workout or help boost confidence during a run.  “Strong finish”, “You’ve got this”, “Just do it”, etc.

Today I used “smooth and easy”.  And yes, I repeated it up the hill multiple times.  To myself, not out loud because I’m sure the neighbors wouldn’t have appreciated hearing my mantra at 6:30am.

Focus on a Number

But not on the number of hill repeats or number of laps you’re running.  Keep it simple by just counting your steps.  And think small numbers.  1-10.  Then start over.  For me counting had a twofold effect.

  1. By counting fast I kept my cadence up
  2. By counting in my head I couldn’t also think “crap, this is hard”.  It wasn’t possible to do both.  And when my mind started to drift (as it does) I re-focused on counting.

It’s a little trick I learned from Adrian Cooke on his podcast Meditate with AC.   Mindfulness when we workout can be very helpful as long as we pay attention to cars on the road and that we’re executing our workout safely.

So the next time you have a hard run and are struggling, don’t freak out.  Take a deep breath, repeat a positive phrase or saying and when in doubt, count it out.  You’ve got this!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂








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