How To Improve Running Uphill
Improve Running Uphill
It’s always harder to go up than to come down, that’s one vital fact of life. But, going up can be quite beneficial in more ways than one. In this case, running uphill is a great way to build up strength and speed as a runner. Even the most skilled runners dread the thought (talk less of the act) of running uphill, it’s tedious. Nevertheless, the benefits are out of this world. With every difficult thing, there’s a way to make it easier. In that vein, here are some tips and directives on how to improve your uphill running experience.
1. Pick Out The Hill Beforehand
This is not the time to pick randomly, before running up a hill, give it a proper vetting. You definitely need it to be steep, but not too steep. There are studies that actually show that anything over 9° is more suited for a brisk walk than a run. So, keep that in mind while checking out the local hill scenery or punching in the settings on your treadmill.
Here’s a tip, within a tip, go for intervals uphill rather than an endless span of exhaustion. Going close to maximum intensity and breaking for a bit ensures that you do not overwork your muscles. It’s hard enough that you’re running uphill, you don’t need to make it harder for yourself. Even better is the fact that you get better results over time if you pace yourself.
2. Check Your Posture
When running uphill, your body tends to naturally hunch forward. In some ways, this alleviates the pressure felt while running. In a nutshell, this is a really bad running form and it should be resisted by all means. This is because it completely limits the range of motion. Furthermore, this results in shorter strides and less effort. Also, leaning over results in you bending over at the waist. Not only does this inhibit the hip flexors, but it’s also quite energy draining.
So, the bottom line here is that you should try not to hunch over. Instead, try to let your body angle naturally towards the incline of the hill. Simply try to maintain a straight line between the shoulders, hips, and legs. This is the best form to take on while going uphill and once it is frequently used, there’s no doubt that you’ll get the best out of your uphill running experience.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Practice makes perfect they say, and when it comes to improving your uphill run, it couldn’t be more accurate. So, saddle up and get ready to incorporate a lot of hill repeat workouts into your usual exercise routine. If you’re really set out to improve your uphill run, then you need to get some practice in at least once a week. Find a hill within your vicinity (or punch in the settings on your treadmill) and run up and down a couple of times.
If you do everything else and you don’t take out time to practice, then you will continually find it hard to run uphill. Just like every other physical activity, the more you engage, the more likely you are to find it easier the next time. The same goes for good form, practice makes perfect.
4. Resist The Urge To Breath Too Hard
Whenever you exert yourself, your heart rate goes up. This fact is true no matter the activity you find yourself engaging in. Running uphill takes it up a notch and that causes the heart rate to go berserk. In fact, if you’re new to it all, it’s quite alarming and could cause you to freak out for a bit. Further down the road, it can cause you to breathe too hard and fast. When this happens, simply calm down and slow your breathing down.
It’s totally normal and you’re not going to expire. Your heart rate is meant to go up, seeing as this is a high tasking activity. All that can be done at the time is to maintain a level of calmness and focus on the task at hand. Obviously, you’re not going to be breathing as if you’re enjoying a relaxing spa day, but make an effort to slow your breathing down as much as you can.
5. Try Not To Slow Down
Unless you’re taking a break during intervals, try to maintain the same speed all through. It’s increasingly tempting to slow down as the going gets tougher but resist it by all means. Once your foot comes in contact with the ground, make a conscious effort to spring it off the ground as soon as possible. This imagery will no doubt help you to keep it moving even when it seems a bit tough.
Altogether, you need to work on your ground contact, there is a right and wrong way to go about it. You see, your tendons actually have you back, they store energy with every step you take. So, if you decide to slow down or even land on your heels, you’ll only end up tiring yourself out.
6. Take Advantage Of Your Arm Movement
Its already been established that arm movement while running helps to increase momentum. The same goes when it comes to uphill running and even more so. There’s the speculative notion that arms and legs are neuro-coupled since we evolved from moving on all fours. It may be just speculation, but you cannot deny the fact that the arms do work quite well with the legs during a run.
When running uphill, best believe that your whole body has to chip in. This is not only a challenge for your feet. Get your arms in the mix too because the faster they move, the faster your legs move. So, if you’re having a little trouble during the run, engage your arms so you can generate more power from your legs. You may not need to rely so much on hand movement when running on a flat surface. The trick is to increase the intensity as the resistance increases.