If you are only running marathons and competitions that happen on a flat surface or ground, you may not need to hill train but otherwise as you try new routes for running; you may come across hills during your run. Running up or down a hill is difficult in comparison to running on a flat surface and it needs more energy from your body. So how can you get better with hill running? It would need you to understand all ifs’ and buts’ with hill running for example how you can become better at running over hill, what should be your speed, what is the science behind difficulty and other aspects. When you will have a better knowledge of what is needed, you will be able to better deal with the demands of running over hills.
Why hill running needs extra energy?
As you climb up a hill with the same pace that you are maintaining on a flat surface, you would not only need to force your body to move forward but at the same time you will be dealing with work against gravity. Thus your body is doing more work with hill running and thus needs more energy to do so.
How to gain that extra energy for hill running?
All that energy that you need for hill running comes from aerobic and anaerobic systems of your body that work with all the nutrients (such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, oxygen and water) of your body to give long-term and short-term energy to your muscles for fast hill running and training. Better muscle power is what you need to train yourself for hill running.
Benefits of Training of Hill Running:
Some of the major benefits of training with hill running include:
- Your body gets increased power.
- You can build muscles’ strength and endurance.
- Your joints will witness minimal stress while running.
- Your running capacity will increase.
- Your running technique will improve.
While we are talking about difficulties with hill running, up-hill run is the most difficult part of it. As you encounter a hill that you need to climb and cross while running, you need to prepare your mind and body. Focus on maintaining your rhythm and you should be prepared to cross. If you stop, your rhythm will break and you may slow down thus breaking the chain. Here are some tips that would keep you from breaking the chain:
- Begin running over the hill by shortening your strike.
- You would not and should not focus on maintaining the same speed as you were running with on the flat surface.
- Just be focused on trying to run over hill with efforts similar to walking on the ground.
- If you try to maintain same speed, you will be exerted and may not be able to continue run at all.
- Work on your way up the hill with smaller steps while maintaining a proper upright posture and a proper rhythm of running.
- Keep breathing well just as the way you breathe while running on flat surface.
- With each step you should focus on pushing with light ankle flick and do not waste energy while trying to cover with a quick movement.
- As you reach the peak of hill, do not immediately stop or slow down but continue your efforts with the steps to follow.
One of the common mistakes that runners make while running down the hill is that they sprint or constantly break. This could cause muscle soreness and fatigue. Rather than doing so they should maintain a reasonable pace with light steps. Here are some steps to follow for down the hill running:
- Maintain a proper posture that is an upright body while going down the hill.
- Light landing and a complete control for your feet on ground is the tip for proper downhill running.
- Longer strides can be taken but not too long while you can slightly increase your pace too.
- Stay in complete control while you are going down.
Control on Brakes:
Whether you are climbing up the hill or going down, you should have a hand on brakes. Running on the hill may need you to travel through sharp points and if you don’t have a hand on brakes; you may fall. It is important to have a control on your flow of running and when you face obstacles and hindrances; you may bounce over them or stop.
How to get better with hill running?
Running on the hill is more challenging than running on straight surface. No matter how much experience you have with running and how skilled you are, it is a little tough to cross hills. You need to think over all the technicalities and would need to step out of your comfort zone. Here are some tips that can make you run better over hills:
- Maintain a standing straight posture or slightly lean forward to climb the hill.
- While going down, imagine that gravity is helping you to come down so keep going.
- Maintain a balance and even effort. You may witness that your speed tends to increase as you go down the hill, try to maintain the pace.
When you are trying any new sport or dealing with a new technicality; only time and practice can make you improve with consistent efforts. First time you will run over a hill and next time you will have more awareness of technical skills needed to cross the hill. Practice will open up ways to a better approach for running. Before opting for hill climbing, it is important to make sure that you have built the energy and strength that is needed to run over hills.