If you're a runner, then you've got to become one with the hill. Running hills will make you stronger and faster, help prevent shin splints, and also burn major calories while also toning the butt. The uphill battle is often a mental game, and although the right form can make things easier, outsmarting yourself with these techniques is sure to help you conquer the next challenging climb.
- Look toward the top: When the body fatigues, it's natural to lower the head to conserve energy. But to keep energy levels up — and forget about your burning quads — bring the gaze upward, toward the top of the hill. Don't cock your head back and strain the neck; instead lift the head slightly and move your eyes up toward the hill. Seeing the top of the hill draw closer and closer with each difficult step will help you power through.
- Pump up the music: No one said you had to run hills alone. If you don't have a dog or running partner to share the deed with, then use the power of music. When approaching a hill or getting reading for a hill interval on the treadmill, grab your iPod and choose a high-energy tune that never fails to amp you up. Need some ideas? Here are some power-song suggestions.
- Say it: Mantras aren't just for 100-year-old yogis. Since the power of thought can sometimes be stronger than your muscular legs, repeat a word or phrase that keeps you going. Try "Go, go, go," "You got this," or "Almost there," and if those don't move you, then here are some other running mantras to inspire you on hills.