I’m running so fast! This is great! …….Wait, is that a HILL I see in the distance? Oh, no!! This is HORRIBLE! I HATE HILLS! I am HORRENDOUS at them! I’m just HOPELESS. I need so much HELP. I want to HIDE.
Sure enough, just as predicted, I do awful on the hill. I significantly slow down, get winded, and am passed by people right and left. It takes forever for me to get back up to speed once I’m over the hill.
Is this how you are too?
By thinking you’re bad at hills, you’re automatically setting yourself up for failure every time you encounter them. Your negative attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Wait! It doesn’t always have to be this way!
Sure, hills provide all runners with an extra challenge. They take more energy, since you’re running against the force of gravity. However, they don’t have to automatically mean failure. Have HOPE. A doom and gloom attitude about hills—or anything else for that matter, will get you nowhere. When you see a hill, focus on staying positive. Think that running hills can actually be fun!
Based upon my research, here are some strategies that will get you over those HUMPS and HAPPILY HAMMERING hills in no time!
Vary the distances. Run short hills (30 seconds to run, with an incline of 5-15% gradient), medium hills (30-90 seconds to run), and long hills (more than 90 seconds).
Be bouncy. Use a slightly higher knee-lift than you would when running a flat surface. Push upwards with your toes and flex your ankles, then land on the front part of your foot. Focus on your legs – your arms, neck, and shoulders should be free of tension. Arms should be held at a 90 degree angle.
Eyes ahead. Keeping your eyes straight ahead helps you maintain proper form and avoid straining your neck.
One step at a time. Never look at the whole hill. Break it into segments and focus on getting to the next landmark.
Hill training offers the following benefits: helps develop power and muscle elasticity, improves stride frequency and length, develops coordination, promotes strength and endurance, develops maximum speed and strength (short hills), and improves lactate tolerance (mixed hills).
So, the next time you’re running and you see a hill coming at you in the distance, don’t let negative thoughts enter your head. Instead, embrace the challenge and think about how HAPPY you’ll be once you successfully conquer it.