During class I get a lot of moans and groans when I include hill repeats. I, too used to dread running hills because frankly it’s hard work but have have learned a few tricks to make hill running easier. Here are 3 tips to get you to the top of that hill!
Shorten Your Stride
The common mistake I used to make running up hills is that I attacked them at full speed and tried to bound up to the top. A better approach is to shorten your stride and use a quicker foot turn over up the hill. Imagine you are pitter-pattering up the hill. Your mantra should be “short and quick, short and quick”. Running this way may feel odd and slow the first few times you do it but trust me, once you get the hang of it you will be at the top and still feeling strong.
Use Your Arms
Your feet will go as fast as your arm speed dictates so pump your arms like pistons. This combined with the shorter stride mentioned above will get you a faster foot rotation. You will be moving your legs more but expending less energy. Again, think “short and quick, short and quick”.
Stay Straight and Look Ahead
Your running form on a hill should be the same as when you run the flats. A bend at the ankles and a slight lean forward, keeping your body in a nice straight line. If you catch yourself bending at the waist staring at the ground you are doing it wrong. Check your form now and then and re-adjust as necessary.
These tips apply to walkers as well. Adding hill repeats to running or walking increases your cardiovascular fitness and works your tush and thighs really well. So practice these techniques and learn to love the hills!
Now go run!