Make sure the hill you’re about to tackle is not too steep. Anything more than a nine-degree angle is probably best walked to start off with.
Also make sure that the ground doesn’t have loose gravel or sand to avoid twisting or spraining your ankle. Make sure your focus is in front of you and keep observing the surface area you are about to traverse to avoid any obstacles in your pathway.
When learning the art of hill running remember that technique is important. Make sure your posture is correct; that is, you are not bent over – tempting as it may be. You can allow for a slight tilt forward. Your arms should ideally hang lower, at a ninety-degree angle, with short swings back and forth enabling your legs to do the work with short, quick strides.
When running downhill avoid your natural instinct to lean back. Instead, lean forward slightly and take short strides. Trying to gallop down a hill will take a huge pounding on your legs which can lead to unforeseen injury.
Don’t use all of your effort at one go when trying to conquer a hill as this will leave you wanting, especially if you have a race in the near future. Rather temper your enthusiasm by concentrating on technique and pacing yourself. Once you reach the top, you’ll have enough energy to resume your stride and leave your competitors at the wayside!
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
A treadmill is a very effective means of simulating a hilly run. Set it at an incline as practice for a hill climb or alternatively at a decline for a downhill run; pretty self-explanatory.
BENEFITS OF HILL RUNNING
It burns more calories by using more muscle whilst also building up muscle strength.
It can prevent common injuries associated with running on a flat surface by making more use of your quads, hamstrings and glutes.
It improves endurance and increases speed.
Conquering the art of hill running can help you to perfect your form and stamina and give you that competitive edge for your next race.