2.24.2009

Getting Over It


Two Saturday's in a row I have faced an enemy, an evil enemy. This enemy is bigger than me, stronger than me and on many occasions, harasses me more than once. I’m sure that you are familiar with this enemy for thy name is HILLS.

Two Saturdays ago, I ran 15 miles with an ascension of 1759 ft. and descension of 1714 ft. with the majority of it being on a couple mile stretch. This past weekend, our running group ran 18 miles with an ascension of 4054 ft. and descension of 4019 ft. reasonably spread out across the full distance. Some say the best way to conquer an enemy is to stand up against it and I would agree. My 15 mile hill run the week before more than paid off last weekend. I felt strong on the hills and was confident I could run strong not only to the top, but over and beyond. (Sure, I was sore as heck afterwards, but that just means it was a successful run, right?)

Here are some great tips to overcome hills and make them your friend (courtesy of Runner’s World):

Running Uphill
  • Keep your head up to keep proper form
  • Lean slightly forward to keep your momentum going
  • Keep your hands loose and avoid making fists to stay relaxed
  • Emphasize your arm action to drive up the hill
  • Avoid swinging your arms cross your body
  • Run the first 2/3 of the hill relaxed
  • Slightly accelerate the last part to carry your pace over the top
Running Downhill
  • Keep your feet underneath you to reduce shock on the body.
  • Shorten your arm swing to help shorten your stride
Why Run Hills?

Hills increase your strength, efficiency and endurance. Running on a steep grade at a fast pace can achieve greater “muscle activation” in the legs and hip area than running at a slow pace. Longer hills can also teach the body to recruit muscle fibers when they’re fatigued.

All good stuff, right? Hopefully the hills will be less of an enemy next time out. I know they were for me. With Big Sur coming up, making an effort to turn that enemy into an ally is going to be beneficial. Do you have any running enemies you're looking to conquer?

1 comment:

Angel King said...

I agree keeping proper form on hills makes a huge difference / tension creates more stress on the muscles and fatigue sets in early, thus slowing your pace.