Whenever I start hill training with the runners I coach, I always hear lots of groans and grumbling. But after several workouts practicing hill running techniques, they start asking for more. Knowing how to run hills properly can help you embrace hill running. Here’s what to do on the inclines:
Maintain your effort level.
As you approach a hill, don’t start thinking you’re going to charge up it. You’ll waste energy and be out of breath by the time you reach the top. To make an incline feel like a flat course, maintain your breathing and effort level. Don’t worry if your pace slows.
When running hills, don’t look down at your feet. Focusing directly ahead of you helps you keep your head up and maintain good posture. Poke your chest out, and keep your back straight and erect.
Shorten your stride.
You should be taking light, quick steps. Focus on lifting your knees up and pushing off from your toes to help spring you up the hill.
Drive your arms.
When hill running, your arms should be at a 90 degree angle and should be moving forward and back (rotating at the shoulder), not side to side. Concentrate on swinging your arms lower, but harder, to help increase your turnover.
Maintain control on the downhill.
The best way to run downhill is to lean forward slightly and continue your short, quick strides. Try to land on the front of your foot rather than your heel. Don’t lean back and try to brake yourself. Keep your shoulders just slightly in front of you and your hips and feet under you, so you’re not overstriding.
Even if you’re convinced that you’ll never get over your hatred for hills, try these tips and you’ll feel like a more confident, stronger, smarter runner when you hit the inclines.