It’s A Hill, Get Over It! 4 Tips For Running Uphill

With the Around the Bay Road Race days away runners are well aware that “THE” hill, as in Valley Inn Rd has returned. I spent Tuesday morning with the team from CH Morning Live chatting the race and sharing tips to rock the hill. Watch it here and read my 4 tips to conquer the hill below.

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Four tips to dominate your next hill workout.

1. Keep your chest up and open. The most common advice you might have received is to “lean into the hill”. Unfortunately, this causes many runners to hunch at the waist to lean forward. This constricts your airway and makes it harder to breathe deeply. You do need to lean forward, but make sure you lean at the hips, not the waist.

2. Keep your head and eyes up. Dropping your head  leads to a slouch in your form and restricts how much oxygen you can take in. So  instead, drive your arms straight forward and back using them like pistons. Keep your elbows bent in a 90-degree angle, and swing them straight back and forth, and not across your body.

3. Drive your knees up off the hill and not into the hill – think of this as your knee drive. Work on landing on the ball of your foot to spring up the hill.

4. Bend your ankle. Think of yourself exploding off your ankle and using that last bit of power to propel you up the hill with minimal energy expenditure. Focusing on plantar flexion can save you a lot of energy and really help you get up the hill faster and with less energy.

What are some tips and tricks you use to power up a hill?

2 Hill Workouts to Attack On a Treadmill

photo(1)Outdoor hill training is one of my favourite running workouts, although sometimes life gets in the way and I need to take my run indoors. Running hills on the treadmill does have some benefits as it allows the runner to easily change the incline from a short, steep hill to a long gradual incline depending on their specific goals or needs. For new runners treadmill hills are great as they can introduce hill training at an incline they feel comfortable, and progress any of the variables as they feel ready.

Whether outdoor or in, running hills requires the use of more muscles than running on flat surfaces, and forces a runner to expend more energy. Running uphill places different demands on a runner’s body, which can help to improve strength and running power. By taking your workout from a flat surface to a hill helps to strengthen the glutes, quads and calves, and improves stability and running performance while giving a high calorie burn.

Here are two of my favourite treadmill hill workouts:

Workout 1: The Pyramid

During this pyramid workout you add to the incline during each work interval, increasing the percentage to your workout max, then decrease at the same rate. The length of this workout can vary by adding an interval to either side of the pyramid or by taking it away. Remember what happens on the upside of the pyramid, must happen on the down.

Warm-up: 5-10 minutes

3 minute run 4% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat

3 minute run 5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat

3 minute run 6% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat

3 minute run 5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat

3 minute run 4% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat

Cool-down: 5-10 minutes

Workout 2: The Ladder

Unlike the pyramid, where the intervals duration increases and decreases, in a ladder workout, you’re only headed up! Each interval is three minute of work and each minute you add to the incline .5%. During the two minute recovery you come back to the flat, and then on the next work interval you start running at the second incline of the previous interval.

Warm-up: 5-10 minutes

3 minute run 4, 4.5, 5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat

3 minute run 4.5, 5, 5.5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat

3 minute run 5, 5.5, 6% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat

3 minute run 5.5, 6, 6.5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat

3 minute run 6, 6.5, 7% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat

Cool-down: 5-10 minutes