Healthy Blog

How to Run Hills – Great Technique Tips!

Monday, September 05, 2016

If you hate running hills, it could be because you haven’t yet developed a good hill-running technique.  Take a look at these great tips for effective hill-running and see how easy it is to improve your hill-running technique:

Preparation

  • If a race course includes hills, train on similar hill gradients so there’ll be no surprises on race day. This’ll help you relax and improve your performance. 
  • Remember to check your shoulders for tension before you stride up a hill.  If you’ve got them halfway up to your ears, roll your shoulders forward and backwards to get rid of the tension and position them low and relaxed.
  • If you can feel some tightness in your quads, lightly kick your legs back a bit further than normal at the end of every stride as you go up.  But don’t do this on the down-slope. 

Hill-running

The key to hill-running is to keep to the same effort level.  This means you’ll be running more slowly uphill, but you won’t be wasting energy and end up breathless at the top!

Going up

  • Pay attention to your posture as you approach a hill.  Your arms need to be at a 90º angle and moving forward and back rotating from your shoulders and not side to side.
  • Keep your back straight and lean in very slightly from your hips, without being hunched over.
  • Focus on swinging your arms lower and shorter by keeping your arm-swing lower and faster, this keeps your legs lower to the ground and gives an energy-efficient short, fast stride.
  • As you come up to the hill-top, start changing back to your normal stride. 
  • If you’ve followed the steps above, you’ll be passing runners who wasted their energy ‘attacking’ the hill!

Coming down

  • When running downhill, focus on the feeling of almost gliding down.
  • Instead of landing on your heel, try to land evenly across the middle of your foot.
  • Lean forward slightly and use short, fast strides.  Try not to lean back in a braking action. 
  • Your shoulders should be slightly in front of you with your hips under you. 
  • I know it’s very tempting to over-stride, but if you can avoid taking long, leaping strides you’ll greatly decrease the pounding action on your legs.

Just tighten up your technique to get the satisfaction of being King of the Hill every time!