Running uphill is as much a mental battle as a physical ability. Listed below are eight tips that will help you get a foothold.
1 Running uphill can present as much of a psychological barrier as a physical one. For long climbs don’t think about the whole distance. Instead, you should break it down into manageable segments that you can mentally tick off as they pass. If it’s a race, it’s advisable to run the route before or take a look at the profile and determine key points, such as completing a particularly steep section.
2 If the hill is sustained and has a continuing gradient, find a good running pace and stick to it. Some runners count their foot strikes, which keeps them focused and running at a constant effort.
3 Shorten your strides and lean into the hill, but keep the same rhythm and effort, as you’d do when running on the flat. Smaller steps will keep you driving up and forward rather than over-striding and having to lift your weight over your foot plant. Some runners also like the feeling that they are running faster and stronger with the higher cadence that accompanies a shorter stride.
4 Don’t look down. Hold your head up and maintain a good posture. Looking at your feet means that you can’t open your lungs as much, which means less valuable oxygen to your legs!
5 About 15 minutes before an uphill race do a few short (10 secs max) hill sprints to ensure your leg muscles are firing.
6 Sometimes it’s just as fast to walk very steep ascents, however, if you happen to do this, make sure you don’t take the opportunity to ease off and instead really power walk. If you do walk, it can be hard to get back into running. So, rather than walking, shorten your stride and keep running.
7 Make sure that your shoes have good grip. There’s nothing worse than slipping as you try and drive off.
8 And don’t forget; when running uphill-only races you’ll finish at a higher altitude than you started and the weather could be very different so carry extra kit to ensure protection.