More often than not, runners and walkers dislike hills. Ok, that may be putting it lightly. But hills are essential to growing as a runner and walker, and for race day success. Make hills your friend - here are some tips to help:
1) Look ahead and not at your feet. Try to look about 50 feet in front of you. Looking forward helps you keep your head up to maintain good posture, making it easier to breathe. You will need that extra oxygen to help you get up the hill!!
2) Try to maintain the same pace and shorten your stride. The inclination is to go slower and lengthening the stride which is the not the approach to use.
3) Use your arms. Keep them parallel to the plane of motion instead of swinging them across your body. This will help you with the momentum and will also improve your upper body strength.
4) If the hill is steep, lean into it. Again, this will help with the momentum of tackling the hill and it is also letting gravity help you.
5) The key to downhill running, is to lean slightly and again, let gravity assist you. Keep your stride close to ground and do not over-stride. Try to hit the ground lightly to minimize impact. Keep control -- if you go too fast, you risk falling and injury. If you go too slowly, you will lean back and start "braking". Try to stay relaxed.
6) Finally, develop a mantra in your head to repeat to yourself. You can use "hills are my friends", "I can do this", "hills will make me stronger" -- whatever works for you!!
HILLS WILL MAKE YOU STRONGER, FASTER AND MORE CONFIDENT SO MAKE THEM YOUR FRIENDS!!!
Article Author Information
Karen Craney, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fleet Feet Sports, Gaithersburg
Training Program Coach