Running on Hills

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Love it or hate it, running on hills is inescapable. Yes, running on hilly terrain can be tough, but there are so many benefits! Including hills in your training helps you become a stronger runner and helps you develop into a more efficient runner.

It can be hard to avoid running on hills in some races. While it’s important to include hills in your training, it’s especially important to include them when your upcoming race is hilly or rolling.

But running on hills isn’t only about pushing hard to get to the top.  Just like running on the flats, you want to remember to run with good form.

Running on Hills

Uphill Running

Just like running on the flats, you want to run with good form. Try your best to maintain your normal form when running uphill.

– Stay upright & stand tall. Don’t bend over at the waist.
– Imagine a balloon lifting you up and over the hill.
– Depending on the steepness of the hill, you will naturally land mid-foot or on the balls of your feet.
– Do not look down, look ahead.
– Do not overstride. Your stride will naturally shorten. Taking long strides uphill will slow you down.
– Do not lean into the hill too much.

For more info on how the body reacts to uphill running, check out this article

Downhill Running

– Have confidence & stay relaxed
– Think “quick feet”. Take advantage of the free added speed from gravity and quicken your stride.
– Keep your body in a neutral position
– Leaning back will slow you down. This can be helpful when controlling your speed on steep descents but use caution that you don’t lean back too much. Leaning back and “braking” while going down a hill will put more strain on your joints from the impact of going down.
– Stay in control. If your speed from a steep downhill is getting away from you, decrease your cadence and shorten your stride.

Read more about downhill running here

Racing a Hilly Course

– Focus on effort, not pace.
– Don’t slow down when you get to the top of a hill. Continue the same effort as you crest the hill.
– Pay attention to your fatigue level. Pushing too much, too early on a hilly course will lead to even more fatigue later on.

 

Do you have a favorite hill you incorporate into your training runs?

 

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