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Start loving hills with these four tips

Get a leg up on your competition with these adjustments

Maddy Kelly running up hills Photo by: Instagram/madeleinekels

Hills are not easy, and every runner seems to either love or hate them. Those who hate them will avoid them like the plague, but there’s nothing to be scared of. Every participant in a race has to deal with the same conditions, so why not get a leg up on your competition with a few adjustments? Who knows, maybe you’ll end up falling in love with them.

Manage your effort

Early in a race, it’s smart to be conservative. Each hill should be to be strategically approached so you do not wear yourself out. The best approach to manage your effort is to not press too hard on your first time up. This will help conserve energy and strength for climbs later in the race. You should be able to go up the hill without feeling any strain. If you are straining, it’s a sign you are going too hard.

Take shorter strides

An important tip when approaching a hill is to maintain your cadence by taking shorter strides. Many elite runners will use this strategy to conserve energy and keep their pace. Shorter strides will reduce the strain on your muscles and make it easier to accelerate when you reach the top.

With uphills, bring downhills

This goes hand-in-hand with managing your effort, but with every uphill, usually, there is a downhill that follows it. If you push yourself up the hill, be sure to relax on the way down. Overstriding downhill can only lead to fatigue or potential injury. If you’re sprinting down, you’ll likely feel some strain in your legs later in the race.

Lean slightly forward, eyes up, and shoulders back

Having the proper form is important, and it pays the price to do them right. Align your centre of gravity with the hill, and let your short strides and knee drives do the work. Keep your shoulders back and your eyes up, pumping your arms in a forward motion for additional power.

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