The last two half marathons I’ve run were FULL of hills! Thankfully, I became a runner in Nashville, TN, so I’m used to hills. That doesn’t mean they’re easy though! I’ve learned a few tricks for handling them and Active.com gives a few tips for hill training as well. I’ve used a few of theirs and one of my favorites.
“The trick to mastering hill training is taking the process slowly, allowing your body the necessary time to adapt to and recover from your workouts. …With hard work, hill training makes you realize that your body is powerful and resilient, capable of literally overcoming an obstacle set before it.
“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). On a short hill, your energy source will be anaerobic (without oxygen); as such, always allow your body proper recovery (a walk down the hill, for example).
“Running a medium hill is both aerobic and anaerobic, and allows you the chance to develop your lactic acid tolerance. (Critical in improving endurance).
“Running a long hill is mainly aerobic. Here, the idea is to exert moderate to hard effort – don’t be too concerned about your speed.”
Lift-Lift-Lean. You want to use a slightly higher knee-lift than you would when running a flat surface. Lift your arms up slightly too. Then lean into the hill. This will shift your center of gravity and help you naturally move on up!
“Eyes ahead. The impulse to look at your feet when scaling a hill can be overpowering… Keeping your eyes straight ahead helps you maintain proper form and avoid straining your neck.
“Inspire yourself. When it comes to hill running, positive self-talk can be a big motivator. …Remind yourself that you have the strength and determination to dominate your run.”