Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hill Climbs

This morning I drove up to run the 5K course I will be racing in on the 13th. It's been a VERY long time since I've ran hills. So I wanted to run the course a few times before the actual race. I am SO glad I did! First of all, I will know where I can push myself harder. But it felt AWESOME!!! It's a beautiful run. The first and last parts are through neighborhoods and along the college campus. But the middle is along a ridge with nothing but rolling hills of newly planted fields, it's BEAUTIFUL!

But I got thinking about hills and whether there are any tricks to running. Whether it be for increasing speed, decreasing risk of injury, or whatever. So I got looking and these are some of the things I've found. These first tips are from Cool Running. {Click the link for the full article}

* Running hills builds the muscles around the knee... therefore it helps PREVENT knee injuries!

* The muscles used to run hills become stronger and help increase PERFORMACE on the flats.

* Helps increase the frequency and length of stride... so you run FASTER!

* You should STRETCH, especially your calf muscles as Achilles tendon when doing hill workouts

* NEGOTIATE the hills so that your rhythm remains the same

* Relax your upper body and let your legs do the work

* For gradual inclines, try to run a bit HARDER than you had been running on the flat before the hill.

* On the steeper inclines, concentrate on LIFTING your knees and pushing off hard with every step.

* Raise your knees; the steeper the hill, the more you need to raise your knees.

* Be careful on the downhill! Lean INTO them and use short quick strides.

RUNNERS WORLD has an AWESOME article that you MUST read {again, click link}! But here are a few highlights:

* Keep your head UP! Otherwise you're wasting energy and messing with your form.

* LOOSE hands help keep your whole body loose; so LOSE the fists!

* Pushing off and UP helps you feel light; don't push INTO the hill!

* Lean FORWARD; keep your momentum up

* UP & OVER; imagine the top of the hill 20 meters PAST where it actually is.

* BIG arm motions. Overuse your arms to really POWER UP

* On the downhill make sure your feet are landing UNDERNEATH you to reduce shock

It makes me think of the little train that could. "I think I can, I think I can" Right?!


Kim said...

Thanks for the tips. I just hope it won't be raining on us Saturday.

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