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It’s Just a Hill...Get Over It! - The Galveston County Daily News : News

October 24, 2014

It’s Just a Hill...Get Over It!

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Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 2:00 pm

The 3rd annual DAILY NEWS PRESS 5K, 10K and kids 1K is just around the corner…are you ready?

For us flat-landers, the thought of running or walking up a hill as big and steep as the Causeway can be a little intimidating. But think of the views from the top (and the photo ops!)! How awesome is it to have a Pelican-eye view of the Bay?

As with any sport, using proper form is important when running hills. Whether you are running uphill or down, maintaining good running form is essential for improved speed, efficiency and reducing excessive pounding, which could lead to injury over time.

Uphill running:

It’s better to take super short, quick steps running up hill rather than taking long, powering strides. “Powering up” the hill with long strides will most likely leave you breathless and is not necessarily efficient or fast.

Quick uphill tips:

*Shorten your stride (take shorter steps)

*Increase your cadence (take quicker steps)

*Lean into the hill - but DON’T bend at the waist. Think about standing tall. Keep your back straight.

*Ideally, you will land mid-foot/forefoot. Don’t stay on your toes; allow the heel to drop down to the ground with each step before you push off through your big toe. There is stored energy in the heel- when you allow your heel to fully drop, you can tap into some of this free, stored energy that will help your forward momentum.

*Drive from the hips- focus on using your hip muscles to lift your knee while you are pushing off the back leg. (The back leg should be nice and long and straight with each step up).

*Keep elbows bent at 90degree angle and drive your elbow back behind you with each step (right elbow back, left hip flexed forward and vice versa).

*Keep your shoulders out of your ears (stay relaxed in the shoulders)

*Keep your neck long; look a few feet ahead of you.

*Engage your core!

*Breathe!

Downhill running:

This is the fun part..free energy!!! Take advantage of the “free” increase in running speed. When traveling downhill, gravity is your friend. You can control your speed with your body. If you want to run faster, lean forward (into the downhill) from your hips- not your head or trunk. If you want to slow down, run more upright. Your feet will always want to land under your center of gravity- your lean will define where your center of gravity is. You will notice that when you lean forward into the downhill, you will need to take much quicker, shorter steps to maintain control. Keep your feet moving fast and continue to lift with your hip flexor (lift up your knees, keep knees bent and land SOFTLY).

Quick downhill tips:

*Look downhill, but not at your feet.

*Don’t over-stride; keep your steps short and quick.

*Avoid landing on your heels first. When you land on your heels, you are “putting on the brakes” and wasting energy. You are also sending too much impact through your joints. Use your muscles to run, not your joints.

*Keep your knees soft and bent (think of you knees like shock absorbers on a mountain bike)

*Land softly with your full foot. Avoid “stabbing” your toes into the ends of your shoes. Just lift your foot and land. Let gravity assist you in your momentum.

*Use your arms for balance. Don’t worry about the forward/backward swing needed in running uphill.

*Engage your core! Think of your abs, rear end, and back as a stable base. Allow your arms and legs to do what they need to do.

Reading about hill running may make technique sound complicated, but with a little demonstration and practice, it makes sense and can be quite fun!

Want to learn this uphill/ downhill technique and “practice” running hills? Great!!

JOIN US for one or both of these upcoming sessions:

*Saturday, Aug 23rd. 9-10am at FIT TRI RUN

*Saturday, Aug 30th 9-10am at FIT TRI RUN.

**on Saturday, the 30th, we will also have HOKA ONE ONE shoes for you to try on and try out

**For these sessions, be dressed and ready to run/ walk. All ages and skill levels welcome. Meet at Fit TRI Run (518 23rd St, Galveston)

There is no cost to attend either or both of these sessions.

Hill training can build incredible strength and speed that overflows into flat land running. The key is to be smart and not to do much too soon.

If you’re still trying to decide whether or not to do the DAILY NEWS PRESS RUN, just remember that the Causeway is just a hill.... so get over it! (Literally, on Sept 13th.)