Posts Tagged ‘hill running’

woman running up hill

Maintain a consistent effort as you run up hills.

If you’re like most runners, you dread hills, complain about them, trudge through them and even avoid them. But hills can be your allies, even your secret running weapons. Doing hill workouts improves your running power, strengthening the muscles that make you a faster runner. Hills can also boost your endurance. Once you know how to use them, hills can be the place where you make winning moves in races. When other runners crumble, you will triumph.

Here’s how to make hills work for you:

  • Be consistent. Many runners panic at the onset of a hill, expending extra effort driving up the hill at the beginning, losing steam by the middle and all-out struggling to maintain a jog by the top. You want to exert only slightly more effort running uphill than you do on flat surfaces. Strive to maintain that effort level until you pass the top of the hill.
  • Relax, hills don’t bite. The extra effort of running uphill can be enough to make you nervous, but take a deep breath and relax. Be confident that you can do it and your body will be more relaxed, making it easier to reach the top of the hill. Panicking will cause your muscles to tighten up and your breathing to become shallow, making your uphill run more of a battle than it needs to be.
  • Focus on form. Your running form will not only help you reach the top more smoothly but will give you something to think about besides the hill. Drive your arms forward and back as you run up the hill, eliminating any sideways motion. Take shorter than normal strides up the hill, lifting your knees enough to propel you upwards. Keep your chest up and posture straight, leaning forward slightly if you need to but not slumping over.
  • Maintain your pace through the crest of the hill. Many runners expend too much energy running hills and slow down near the top. If you’ve maintained a consistent effort level, you will be able to run through the top of the hill and then smoothly transition to your regular stride. This is a good time to pass people in races as the runners who expended too much energy on the hill fall back, struggling.
  • Congratulate yourself, you made it up the hill! And welcome the next one as a familiar ally, knowing you’ve made peace with the beast.

Yessi and me in the parking lot after our run.

Yessi and I tackled some tough trail running today at Faust Park. Yessi said she did not feel too good and her sinuses were acting up, making her sound pretty gravelly. But being the running Nazi that I am, I still made her run.

The nearby track was in use so we went to Faust Park and tackled the never-ending hills along the back woods trail. I was hoping we’d have our walking sessions for most of the uphill part because our first run was mostly downhill. But no such luck — we wound up on a long, gradual, never-ending hill during the second run and Yessi stopped to walk for about 45 seconds toward the end of the hill. Even though I was running next to her, I was as slow as her walking pace. It was a really tough hill and I was relieved Yessi was willing to run to finish the interval once we crested the hill. And even though she said she felt bad on the hill, she said she was up for completing the workout and doing another 6-minute run, which we did on flat grass and sidewalk.

Yessi stayed determined once again today and I’m proud of her for sticking through a tough workout, especially when she wasn’t feeling too good.

Here is our tenth day’s workout:

  • 5-minute walk to warm up
  • 6 minutes of trail running at an average pace of 10:57-minute miles
  • 4-minute recovery walk
  • 6 minutes of hill running at 13:22-minute mile pace
  • 4-minute recovery walk
  • 6 minutes of grass and sidewalk running at 11:18-minute mile pace
  • 4-minute walk to cool down
Total time working out: 35 minutes
Total running time: 18 minutes
Total Distance: 2.35 miles
Trail: Faust Park
Conditions: Partly sunny, 80 degrees
Yessi: Had sinus problems this morning but did not try to get out of the workout. We tackled some really steep and long hills in the woods at Faust Park. Yessi walked a little at the end of the second run but then jumped back into gear to finish the rest of the workout. She really hung in and I’m proud of her for sticking it out. In the future, I’ll avoid these grueling hills until our bodies adjust to the heat and Yessi is feeling better.
Follow Yessi’s progress with Runstreet’s Training Tales.