If you are looking to build your speed, strength and endurance, try adding hillwork. With a bit of practice and the right technique, you can use hills to your advantage and make a strong ascent up even the steepest climbs. Here's how in four steps.
1. Start off slow. Run the first two-thirds of the hill relaxed, then slightly accelerate the last part, while carrying your place over the top. Don't push too hard at the bottom of a hill, otherwise, you may run out of steam when you reach the top.
2. Focus on form. When facing a tough ascent, many runners put their head down, which wastes energy by throwing off their form. Instead, keep your body upright and fix your eyes directly ahead of you, not down at your feet, while holding your head and chest up.
3. Stay light on your feet. During the climb, get up on your forefeet and take shorter strides. Push your legs off and up, rather than into the hill, so it feels like you are springing up the hill.
4. Loosen up and lean in. When tackling a tough hill, lean your torso into the hill to help gain momentum and make sure your arms loose at a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Also, keep hands loose and don't make a fist to help your whole body stay relaxed.
Finally, I remember when I started running a year ago. I hated hills!!! There is a hill in my neighborhood and I used to hate when I would reach that hill in my runs. I always said, if I can make it to the mailbox; if I can make it to the car, etc. Finally, one day after about three weeks, I finally made it to the top without stopping. I started to jump up and down and screaming that I had finally done it!!! Now, hills don't bother me and I actually look forward to running hills because I know that I can do it!!
How do you handle hills and hillwork? Any suggestions as I would love to hear them.