Hills…I’m sure even mentioning the word fills many of you with dread. I too was once like you, dreading the incline ahead, but hills don’t have to be bad. They are now my favourite part of running! It is both an inspiring and intimidating pursuit. Your muscles scream as you push up the hill and that pain fades to nothing when you arrive at the summit to the most spectacular views, the freshest of air and an unrivalled feeling of accomplishment.
Ascend Like An Angel:
When tackling the uphills you need to have light and fast feet as though you’re stepping on little clouds. The urge is always there to try and take big steps but that is going to sap your energy quickly. Here are my top tips for heading skyward:
- Sneaky toes – When heading uphill its best practice to keep on your toes and try your best to “glide,” concentrating on being as lite footed as possible.
- Get a backbone – Try not to lean forward into the hill, instead, keep your back straight and your chest open to allow as much oxygen to flow as possible.
- Get pumping – Swing those arms in time with the opposing leg to give you an extra nudge and keep momentum
- Consistency – Easier said than done on some trails. Using consistent short steps and arm swings, hold your momentum to be a lot more efficient. Constant stopping or taking longer steps will upset your flow and can make the climb harder.
Descend Like A Demon:
Downhills. The amazing reward for that tough climb. Most people struggle on the downhills, especially if it’s getting a bit steep. Here are some great tips to have you hammering down those hills with style:
- Confidence- Attack those downhills. Be confident with your steps. Leaning right back and trying to go slow down the hill will make you more likely to slip. If you lean forward and keep your body centred above your hips, you will find that you will have better traction and as your leg are spinning you won’t slip.Trust those legs! They know what they are doing, despite how scary the downhill is!
- Footwork – Land forward on your foot, taking longer steps so that you have better accuracy with footing.
- Look ahead! – When going downhill it’s easy to stare at your feet. Keep a look 6-7 paces ahead so that you can see any rocks, sticks, puddles and cliffs that might be ahead and adjust your footing accordingly. Last minute manoeuvres can lead to a wee tumble!
- Breathe!- Holding your breath will quickly give you a stitch going down. It’s very easy to hold your breath by mistake so check yourself!
The more you run in the hills, like running on the road, the easier it becomes. Soon your strength grows and your legs become mountain smashing pistons and those hills you started on and struggled with will be ascended with such ease that onlookers will really think your an angel.
Hope that you found something useful in this post and feel free to ask me anything in the comments below!
Happy Running! Jordan
Love – Live – Run and get out and hit the trails!
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