Running Up hills

  • suedeheadscot

    Posts: 1130

    May 15, 2011 9:08 PM GMT
    Nothing to do with the Kate Bush song (probably showing my age at this point).

    One of the half marathons I plan doing is full of hills. I normally make sure my runs have a couple of steep hills in them. But I was wondering - does anyone have any tips/recommendations on how to do better hill runs? If this is a stupid question forgive me - but I did wonder if there was a certain technique when applied for running up hills would make it easier....

    Any thoughts? Or am I just being dumb?
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    May 15, 2011 9:30 PM GMT
    The best advice I have had is to keep your arms moving - your body will naturally balance from that and keep your legs moving. I normally try to think I am pulling myself up a rope to the top.
  • suedeheadscot

    Posts: 1130

    May 15, 2011 9:45 PM GMT
    thats a really good idea - cheers for that!
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    May 15, 2011 9:57 PM GMT
    Always take smaller steps going up hills
  • Road89

    Posts: 104

    May 15, 2011 10:02 PM GMT
    Alwyas rest your upper body over your hips. NEVER LEAN FORWARD ON HILLS. When your body is in front of your hips, your legs are pushing against all that extra weight. While you shouldn't run leaning back, you should run with your body over your hips, and it will feel like you're leaning back, but you're not =] Hills, take it easy going up DON"T LEAN FORWARD. When you are going down, really widen your stride and let gravity help carry you to the bottom. Experiment with this tip (body over the hips), and see how it helps you - it's going to feel weird but it works out your lower back and butt =D so enjoy!
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    May 15, 2011 10:04 PM GMT
    Watch out for achilles tendonitis.
    Best way to avoid this is proper stretching
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    May 15, 2011 10:07 PM GMT
    Keeping your arms moving is definitely good! You could try doing some hill workouts/sprints. Find a hill with decent incline. Pick out a starting point and stopping point (shorter distance). Do some sprint intervals where you sprint up the hill at 90-100% effort. Sprinting naturally gets and keeps your arms and legs moving.

    Then from the same starting point, pick out a new stopping point (longer distance). Do some "sprints" at 80% effort (something you can maintain for a longer period of time).

    Alternate these two distances with 30-60 second rests in between each. This work out will strengthen your legs, train your arms to keep moving when going up hill, increase hill climbing endurance, and will help you climb hills with more ease and speed come race day. Hope this helps!!
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    May 15, 2011 10:28 PM GMT
    Here's a crazy way to practice, but it seriously works. Get a partner who can run at your pace- even if it's just for short spurts. At the bottom of a hill have your partner grab your arm. Now close your eyes and start running, letting your partner guide you in a straight path. When you don't see the hill, you don't try to compensate for it and you just go up and down it naturally. After a bunch of hills, you'll be able to get it right, and if feel yourself getting it wrong, you just close your eyes for a few steps and you're back in form.

    One thing I've been told though is this only works if you run barefoot style lifting at your hips. If you run by kicking your heels this may not be so great. I dont know.
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    May 15, 2011 10:41 PM GMT
    I've started going to the Track twice a week doing Stair Runs, Stair Jumps, and Snakes. It really has helped me run hills a lot better.
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    May 16, 2011 12:02 AM GMT
    Don't slow down at the top of the hill. It will be really tempting, but just keep the same pace the whole time. At least, try to.
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    May 16, 2011 12:15 AM GMT
    Waterboy saidAlwyas rest your upper body over your hips. NEVER LEAN FORWARD ON HILLS. When your body is in front of your hips, your legs are pushing against all that extra weight. While you shouldn't run leaning back, you should run with your body over your hips, and it will feel like you're leaning back, but you're not =] Hills, take it easy going up DON"T LEAN FORWARD. When you are going down, really widen your stride and let gravity help carry you to the bottom. Experiment with this tip (body over the hips), and see how it helps you - it's going to feel weird but it works out your lower back and butt =D so enjoy!


    really are you sure? this wasn't what we were taught when i used to run track. but hmmmmmm this was what like 8o years or so ago icon_razz.gif
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 738

    May 16, 2011 12:26 AM GMT
    A couple tips...but the first and most important is to incorporate hill workouts, not only into your tempo or long runs but to literally do speed intervals climbing hills. Repeat 10-30 times. Rest between each set with an easy jog back to the bottom of the hill.

    Also, I've read that you should look down and so the hill doesn't look so intimidating. Personally, I like to do the opposite. I like to "charge" the hill so that I can see with each stride that I'm making progress to conquer the hill. If it's a big hill, I'll even play mental games like counting...only 50 more strides, etc.

    Your stride should be a little shorter and your knees will come up a little higher than usual when you're climbing. Of course, using your arms as pistons in conjunction with your stride is beneficial too.

    A good mantra never hurts..."Hills are my friend" or "Hills make me stronger" or "I'm stronger than this hill" can also be incorporated into your self-talk. I think the worst thing you can do is get into a mental space where you dread hills. I don't particularly love hills but I find that I pass people on hills, so I always remind myself that I'm a stronger hill climber than the other runners and this is my time to put all my training to use and blow by the folks who are huffing and puffing and lamenting the hills.
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    May 16, 2011 12:37 AM GMT
    As a cross country coach I've seen way too many runners push themselves up a hill by maintaining the same speed as on the flat, only to die at the top. I've always told my runners to instead maintain effort up the hill, and maintain effort at the top and beyond. Anybody that flew past them going up the hill will come back at the top (and then some). If you rate your running effort at a six on the flat (on a scale of ten and a full sprint being a ten), keep it an effort of six going up.

    Waterboy is mostly correct about the form. He's right, don't lean forward from the waist like most people do, but you should instead lean forward from the hips. This will keep the rest of the upper body in alignment with your hips and allow you the angles you need to climb a hill. It'll also be easier on your lower back. You'll need a shorter stride and the steeper the hill, the more youll need to be on your toes. And use your arms! I use the tow rope imagery also.

    He's also right about going downhill...open the stride and let gravity do it's job. The imagery device I've used for downhill running is to imagine yourself running perpendicular to the hill...there's a balance point that takes some practice, but you'll know when you've found it. If you find yourself losing control, throw your arms over your head. Many runners use a heel strike going down, but some coaches recommend using a mid-sole strike...again takes some practice but use whichever you're most comfortable with. Going downhill requires very little effort if done right, so temporarily throw the effort scale out the window.

    As for training, either do hill repeats or select a route with several hills on it. We have a route that we call "serpentine" that goes up a 1/2-mile hill, over one block, down, over another block, up, over one block...Total of 4-7 uphills depending on the experience level of the athlete. Kids hate it, but it's effective and we're good on the hilly courses.

    Good luck!
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    May 16, 2011 12:38 AM GMT
    There is a good article in Trail Running Magazine for June’s month.

    Running Hills- The ABCs by Jason Karp-

    1) Since you are running slowly on hills, ensure you keep an even pace rather than speed. Monitor your heart rate by having a Heart Monitor, this will tell you how hard you are working.


    2) To increase your VO2 (maximum capacity your body can transport and use oxygen), run up a hill that at least takes 3 minutes.


    3) When running downhill, shorten your stride, to prevent over striding and emphasis a quick leg turnover. It should feel like a controlled falling.


    4) Given the stressful nature of downhill running, treat downhill workouts as hard sessions, and allow two to three days of easy running afterward.

    5) Incorporate down hills into training slowly. Start with a short, gradual slope of about two to three percent, and progress to steeper and longer descents.

    6) Since you will be running faster going downhill, ensure good foot placement, so look ahead several steps.
  • allamathlete

    Posts: 81

    May 16, 2011 12:45 AM GMT
    Blackguy4you said
    Waterboy saidAlwyas rest your upper body over your hips. NEVER LEAN FORWARD ON HILLS. When your body is in front of your hips, your legs are pushing against all that extra weight. While you shouldn't run leaning back, you should run with your body over your hips, and it will feel like you're leaning back, but you're not =] Hills, take it easy going up DON"T LEAN FORWARD. When you are going down, really widen your stride and let gravity help carry you to the bottom. Experiment with this tip (body over the hips), and see how it helps you - it's going to feel weird but it works out your lower back and butt =D so enjoy!


    really are you sure? this wasn't what we were taught when i used to run track. but hmmmmmm this was what like 8o years or so ago icon_razz.gif


    actually its pretty spot on sort of... you shouldnt "lean forward" or at least dont use that as a cue. when you say that it encourages people to bend at the hips which is not good. the reality is you should have a "lean" from the ankle joint. at the point where the foot contacts the ground you should be able to (theoretically) draw a line through all 4 joints (ankle, knee, hip, shoulder). sorry if i got way too into this but i coach runners for a living... i cant' help it. lol

    here's a couple of good examples:

    http://www.zone3sports.com/resourse%20links/great_running_posture.jpgIMAGE HTTP ADDRESS GOES HERE

    http://mrdavolt.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/proper-running-posture.jpgIMAGE HTTP ADDRESS GOES HERE
  • Goofeyman

    Posts: 199

    May 16, 2011 12:51 AM GMT
    Number one, like your hair

    I agree with all the advice running uphill...shorter strides, balance your body over your hips, and, as I have always learned while working for the forest service up in the mountains of the pacific n w , and running there,

    Breathe in stride...a friend that I worked with there also ran every terrain
    Physicologically get yourself to breathing at a steady rate.

    Meaning, don't start breathing extra hard or breathing too fast..that will totally zap, with a z, your strength and momentum.
  • suedeheadscot

    Posts: 1130

    May 16, 2011 7:16 AM GMT
    Thanks guys, for all your help. I'll have a go at this all next time I'm training!

    Ewan