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Running Strategy: Hills

If you run outside, chances are high that you have encountered some hills. Hill work is considered one of the building blocks of running because it builds strength. So don't avoid the challenge of the natural incline.

When running uphill, it helps to follow the biking strategy. Cyclists prepare for their climb by shifting into an easy gear for the ascent. Runners should switch gears too. Instead of trying to attack a hill maintaining the same pace as you would on flat terrain, slow down. Your energy output while running uphill should remain the same as it was before you started your ascent. Your breathing should not speed up and your heart rate shouldn't either. While you might be moving more slowly, you're using your energy more efficiently, so you can keep on running, which really is the point.

When I am running uphill, my mantra is "slow and steady wins the race." I may be a tortoise, but I am still running.

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Allytta Allytta 9 years
i try to avoid them, i don't feel it's healthy for my knees.
italianblonde italianblonde 9 years
I agree with lilxmissxmolly when she said shorten but quicken your stride. That works best for me too. My CC coach also has us lean back and go slow while running downhill. I just love to see how fast I can go though, but I lost control at the bottom one time. When I was on the CC team at school, hill day was the most dreaded for me, but definitely helped me most in the long run (no pun intended).
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I used to live in super-flat New Orleans, but I just moved to Pittsburgh and the hills are killer! I've definitely started walking halfway up just because my legs won't go any further. Something to get used to I guess.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
Yeah, I live in a very flat area in Wisconsin and it's so hard for me to find good hills to train on. I usually end up running up and down stairs or else I use the treadmill.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 9 years
i'm a cross country runner so hills are super important. you can't conquer a hill with the same stride as you use on flat terrain, but i don't think the mindset should be "slow down". instead, shorten but quicken your stride. another good habit is to surge over the crest of the hill, and keep that momentum after the hill.
Arthur Arthur 9 years
it's pretty amazing how much you need to slow down. The way I "downshift" is by taking a much shorter stride. the other thing to remember is the opposite: when you get to the top of the hill and start running down hill make sure to: upshift, lengthen your stride and go faster. Again, trying to keep your heart rate and breathing constant (like the spinning of your legs when biking should stay constant). Back in the dark ages when i started jogging, I used to sprint up hills and then catch my breath on the way down the hill. so my heart rate would go up and down. eventually, this caused me to hit a plateau in my running because I wasn't keeping my heart rate in the "zone" long enough to get the benefit of cardio conditioning. One of the many benefits of using a heart rate monitor when running is it gives you a very easy way to know how to very your gate to keep your heart rate in the right spot. It helped me blow through my plateau.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
Treadmill
alethia037 alethia037 9 years
What if you live in Florida and are nowhere near hills? Any alternative suggestions?
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