PR’ing on a hilly course is possible, and it starts with a mindset change

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Photo by nappy from Pexels

Let’s face it, hills are the worst.

For many runners, hills are like The Beast from the movie The Sandlot. We hate them, fear them, and we’d rather not deal with them.

But if you run away from hills instead of up them, you will miss out on opportunities to get faster, stronger, and more efficient at running.

Like many runners, I used to dread hills, which translated into the ultimate avoidance game.

I chose my training runs (and races) primarily by their flatness. As a consequence, even the smallest of hills was enough to slow me down.

I continued…

The benefits of running fewer miles

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

When I first started training seriously for half marathons and marathons, I followed the high-mileage programs recommended by the experts.

I really enjoyed running — still do — and I thought the best way to get better at it was to run more. I was also in my 20s and didn’t have too many obligations other than my job, so it was easy enough to log extra miles during my free time.

But I didn’t really improve much as a runner during that time. …

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Photo by Andre Morgan from Pexels

I’ve run two marathons without headphones. I know, it sounds insane. And maybe it was.

But it also made for two very memorable experiences, and I think everyone should practice the art of running without headphones. Here’s why.

Friendship Found — New Jersey Marathon, 2012

It was my first marathon, and I was determined to experience every moment of it. To that end, I decided to start running without listening to music. I had my phone and headphones with me just in case, but within the first mile, a guy who was running near me commented on another runner’s decision to run barefoot.

At the time, Born…

You get out of it what you put in, during and afterwards

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The view from my bedroom window at a 200-hour yoga teacher training course near Pokhara, Nepal

Three years ago, I decided attend a 200-hour yoga teacher training course in a rural area of Nepal.

At the time I was in between jobs, and spending a month to clear my head and learn more about yoga sounded like the right palate cleanser for that point in my life.

I had many preconceived notions about what the course would be like, all of which were promptly blown out of the water upon arrival. Nothing could have really prepared me for that month, except for having an open mind and being willing to go with the flow.

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine

I expected…

Forget about the Gumbys and focus on what works for you

Editor’s Note: Please consult a medical professional before beginning any exercise program.

For runners, yoga can be the dreaded yin to our running yang.

Many of us have extra-tight hips and hamstrings from years of logging miles, and flexibility-focused activities like yoga can feel downright awful when you get down to it.

Even worse is going to a yoga class and seeing what all the flexible yoga Gumbys can do with their bodies. Watching them contort and twist, you’re left wondering how they got there, and if it’ll ever be possible to bend like that.

As a runner, I always…

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I’m going to crush pregnancy.

That was my thought when I first found out — to my surprise and joy — that I was pregnant.

The day after this happy revelation, I ran a 10-mile race. I would go on to complete my first Tough Mudder while pregnant and also run a few 5Ks.

In addition to being a runner, I’m notorious among my friends for being a healthy eater. My diet’s not perfect (whose is?) but I try to eat well most of the time.

My pre-pregnancy BMI was within the healthy range, and I gained 28 pounds during…

The benefits of taking time and space for a post-baby break

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Photo by Daniel Reche from Pexels

Earlier this year I signed up for the TCS New York City Marathon.

At the time I was pregnant, and I thought it would be possible to give birth in June and run a marathon in November. Easy peasy, right?

As it turns out, not so much.

I ran up until my 32nd week of pregnancy. At that point, the combined toll of pregnancy weight gain and baby’s head sitting on top of my bladder made running pretty unpleasant, so I decided to stop.

I told myself that I would be back to running in no time, but life had…

A painful but redemptive look at the awkwardness of years past

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Middle school me

I’ve been helping my parents digitize their photos during quarantine.

It’s my pet project, my contribution to the family and my distraction while I count down to the final days of my pregnancy.

As I work backwards through years of photos, I’ve been forced to come face-to-face with my middle school self.

Middle school was easily the worst time of my life.

I was shy, a bookworm. I was not athletic. In fact, I was really terrible at most physical endeavors.

My body was changing, and instead of flaunting those changes like some girls my age, I hid them under…

Why I don’t have a social media pregnancy trail

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I don’t have many pregnant photos of myself, and they do not exist on social media.

I didn’t even post about my pregnancy to social media until I was 34 weeks along. The announcement was a simple photo of a onesie.

I know that as a millennial, this makes me a freak of nature.

Don’t get me wrong — I am excited about my pregnancy. And I’m not ashamed of my pregnancy belly.

In fact, I’m proud of myself for staying active throughout my pregnancy. …

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Pregnancy is kind of like training for a marathon.

You can log all the training miles, read all the articles and eat all the right foods, but you never know what’s going to happen during training or come race day.

I had a vision of myself running all the way through to the end of my pregnancy, big belly and everything. But I also acknowledged that there may come a day when I would need to stop running.

And then it happened.

After 32 weeks, I pulled the plug on running during pregnancy.

It was a difficult choice. For a…

Emily Hendricks Escovar

Runner, writer, mother, yoga teacher and NYC resident

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