Hills…gotta love them–NOT!  But they can make or break your runs, so have a game plan.

Like most things in life, hill running is a skill; and skills can be improved.  Hill running is a chance to boost your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, muscle strength, and overall awesomeness.  It’s also a strategic opportunity to run faster times.

Strategy:  The time you take running uphill adds more time to your runs than you can make up during the descent (without killing your knees).  So, it’s better to pick up time by being strong and deliberate during the ascent.

Here are the skills to help you do just that:

Use Gravity

Real friends help those who help themselves.  So, help yourself by using Gravity in your favor: lean into the hill.  If you run straight up, or worse, lean backwards, Gravity will fight against you.  Take the upper hand by leaning forward from your ankles; and do not bend your torso.

Free your Mind

In the words of En Vogue, “Free your mind and the rest will follow.”  This is some of the best hill running advice.  Thanks to my friends, Gravity and Elevation, I often feel like I weigh 2,000 pounds when I run uphill.  So I tell myself, “I am light, I am light, I am light….” the whole way up.  It helps a lot.  See if it works for you.

Segment the Hill

Long and/or steep hills can be brutal.  Take it down a thousand.  Give yourself another mental advantage by segmenting the hill: Just focus on making the next 20 to 50 yards (that’s less than half a straight-away on the track); Repeat this tactic over and over until you reach the top of the hill, even if you need to walk.

Walk with Purpose

There is no shame in walking up a hill.  In fact, it’s a smart strategy if your form is falling apart.  To walk with purpose, simply reengage your efficient form and pump your strong arms.

Activate Your Strong Arms

Your legs follow your arms; so, your arms can bail you out when your legs don’t want to move.  To activate your strong arms, keep your arms at a 90-degree angle or less, and force your elbows back.  Momentum and synchronization will take care of the rest.

Run on the Ball

Power your way up a hill through your feet.  By driving the balls of your feet into the ground and pushing off, you will speed up your ascent.

Run More Hills

Sorry, not sorry.  There are no substitutes for hill running.  It’s a unique opportunity to develop your power and advance your training.  Incorporate uphill training into your routine at least once a week, especially if you tend to run on flat terrains.

You can do this.  You are strong.

See you at the top,

Martise : )


Want to know more about hill running?  Ask your specific question below or schedule a private training.

*Always consult with your physician before starting a new or more strenuous exercise routine.