Get over it. End of post.
I’m hilarious right?
No really, today we’re going to talk about hill running. I personally love hilly runs. My area is pretty hilly so all of my runs have various uphills and downhills. I feel like I do better in hilly races, which is why I’m kind of nervous for the Philly Half which is pretty flat.
I feel like my strength lies in hill running, and I regularly had my XC team do hill sprints during our season. So let’s talk about tips!
Climb the rope. As you’re running uphill, use your arms for power. I like to envision myself pulling a rope to climb up. With every arm swing, I’m grabbing the rope and pulling myself up. It might be a silly visualization, but it works for me! Don’t let your arms just flail around as you get tired. Move them with strength and purpose. The more powerful your arm swing, the faster you’ll go and stronger you’ll feel.
Knee drive. Power through the knees. One cue I like is, “drive your knees.” Basically, drive your arms and knees forward with power and really focus on having that power. Half of it is a mental battle, and if you make yourself feel strong you will be. Lift your knees up with every step and push forward.
Maintain even effort. This can be hard in a 5K race, where you want to maintain a certain pace, but don’ t try to do this on a hill. If it’s a steep, steady climb, you’ll hate yourself about halfway through. Once you get to the hill, slow down and maintain 5K effort. Focus on your breathing and how you feel. If it starts feeling tougher, slow down a bit and just keep going.
Accelerate at the end. When most runners get to the top of a hill in a race they slow down a bit to catch their breath and recover. This is your chance to pass them! Start training to speed up at the top of a hill. I do this outside and on a treadmill, and have my runners do it too. Add hill intervals to the end of a run, then once you get to the top accelerate as much as you can once it flattens out (for about 15-20 seconds, then rest & repeat). This will train you to speed up even when you’re legs are fatigued, and you’ll feel awesome passing runners once you crest a hill.
Practice mental strength. For me, mantras and visualizations help me during tough runs. On hills, I just keep telling myself that I’m running on flat ground. When the going gets tough, have a mantra or something ready that you’ll repeat to yourself. Or simply just have a mental image of you feeling strong, looking strong, and powering up a hill like an elite runner. Sounds cheesy but we all know mental strength plays a huge factor in running!
Do you have a mantra or phrase you use in your running?
Do you prefer hilly courses or flat courses? I like moderately hilly!
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