If you're one of those runners who dreads running hills, it may be because you're not using the right hill running techniques. Follow these steps for proper hill running and you may actually look forward to inclines during your runs.
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- Don't start thinking that you want to attack the hill. The key to running hills properly is to maintain your effort level (which translates into a slower pace on the uphill), so you don't waste energy and end up out of breath at the top of the hill (that's a common mistake among runners).
- As you approach an uphill, make sure you have good running form. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle and should be moving forward and back (rotating at the shoulder), not side to side.
- Your back should be straight and erect. You can lean in very slightly from the hips, but make sure you're not hunched over.
- Concentrate on swinging your arms lower and shorter. By keeping your arm swing lower and quicker, your legs will stay lower to the ground -- resulting in a short, quick stride.
- As you reach the top of the hill, you can begin your normal stride again. If you ran the hill properly, you'll be able pass runners who wasted too much energy on the hill.
- The best way to run downhill is to lean forward slightly and take short, quick strides. Don't lean back and try to brake yourself. Try to keep your shoulders just slightly in front of you and your hips under you. Although it's tempting to overstride, avoid taking huge leaping steps to reduce the pounding on your legs.