“Hills are speedwork in disguise.”
– Frank Shorter, Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist 1972
If you are one to avoid hills, now is the time to decide to tackle them! Hills are excellent for strength, fitness, improved efficiency and injury prevention, and you’ll experience a huge sense of accomplishment every time you get to the top.
My own first set of hills was as a Senior in High School, running up and down a snow-covered garbage dump in Regina. (Seriously) No technique at that time – just gutting it out up-and-down. There was some kind of voice inside me that knew running hills would be a good way to become fitter. A couple years later I remember in Saskatoon on the U of Sask. track team tackling repeats of what became known as “The Iron A” under one of the bridges along the river. (Yep you can figure out what “A” stood for!) These days I have my performance athletes doing Ravine Hills in White Rock every other week all year long.
So name your neighbourhood hill and get tough!
- Lean slightly into the hill while hinging at the waist.
- Keep the abs and back strong – shoulders away from ears.
- Focus only on the few feet in front of you.
- Shorten your stride – Most people over stride on hills.
- Land on the balls of your feet and lift your knees as quickly as possible.
- Keep those arms pumping with a short quick swing.
- Be patient, and let your breathe come naturally.
- Take it easy on the way down as the impact is greater.
You’ll be tackling that Cambie Street Bridge Hill en route to the final mile on Sun Run Day with gusto!