Friday, December 10, 2010

Hills, Hills, Hills

Someone said: "YOU Might be a Runner IF... You have a love-hate relationship with hills"

Very very true. We hate them because they're tough, but we love them because it makes us stronger.. which what every endurance athlete strives for.. to be better, to be stronger.

Recently I moved and my neighborhood is seriously ridiculously hilly. Biking has definitely been a challenge, you have to either bike 2+ miles uphill before you can even get to a decent flat area to ride, (which isn't even that flat, just more manageable rolling hills) or go downhill and save that awesome 2 mile uphill stretch for the end.

Pick your poison.

Running these routes are equally as challenging, although I feel running uphill is easier than biking, but that's probably just the inner runner inside of me. My prior training routes were generally flat, downhill and with a small portion of a steep uphill. However with new neighborhood, I had to adapt, and as much as I struggled at first, I LOVE IT.

Hills make you so much stronger, physically and endurance wise and my quads are in the best shape they've ever been.

Forefoot running makes taking the hills a more graceful as well.
But, whatever foot your are, here's a good recipe for tackling these hills

  1. Keep your body upright
    • Often when people go uphill, you notice that they lean forward too much, this throws off your form, and added strain to your back, especially around your shoulders (since your hunched over) and your lower back because now that is the focal point for all impact.
  2. Bend your knees.
    • Often when people run uphill, they run the same was as if they're running on flat ground, using the calves more than the quads, which if you tune into your body, you will feel your calves working much harder going uphill. You need more power to push up those hills. Imagine how your legs feel when you're walking up stairs, you bend your knees and you use your quads. When you bend your knees going uphill, you will feel your quads working instead of your calves.
  3. Palm your waist.
    • When our body gets tired we tend to swing our arms across our chest. This is NOT good arm form because you restrict your lungs from expanding and getting enough oxygen. Keep your arms bent at a 90 degree angle (at your elbow), palms open and loose, and each time you swing your arm, your Palm should tap your waist. By doing so, you ensure that your elbows are in and parallel with each other, and your lungs are open
  4. Keep your pace
    • Often a person with either go up too fast or too slow on the hill. Just try to focus on keeping the same pace or just a bit slower, keep your leg turnover as you would normally run. Its just a change in the ground, nothing more. No need to speed up because you might tire yourself out. Just bend your knees and keep everything the same.
  5. Keep your feet low
    • Going up hill and bending your knees, you migh end up lifting your legs up too high = more energy = more exertion. Unless you're trail running, and trying to avoid rocks, you want to conserve as much energy as you can.
    • Focus on your cadence breathing.

      Happy Running!

1 comment:

  1. I bend. I totally do. I'm going to have to work on that.

    And knowing how to breathe right has made all the difference in this. It really does power me through my runs.