Learn 2 Run: Week 6

Run: 1:50
Walk: 1:10

Here it is, week 6.  If you are like most runners you’ve been running on flat terrain, avoiding hills because, well, running hills can be hard.  Unfortunately, most locations are not flat unless you live in the prairies.  Hills are a fact of life and you’ll have to run up or down them eventually.

Yes, this weeks tip is on how to run up hills.   We’ll cover down hill next week.

The key to running hills that unless you are doing hill repeats (1), you don’t want to attack an uphill and you don’t want to back off on a downhill.  This comes back to the constant effort philosophy that I mentioned in one of the earlier posts.  After a big effort, you have a big recovery.  With a small increase in effort, you only need a small recovery.

So you ask yourself, how do you run up hill with minimal effort?  It’s easy.  You have all the tools needed.  You have been learning them the last 5 weeks.  Run with good form, feet underneath you, relaxed shoulders and arms, upright body posture and breathing from your belly button.

Because when going up hill, the road is rising to meet you, in order to keep your landing zone under you you have to do two things:

  • Shorten your stride length (the distance between each step).
  • Land further up your foot according to the steepness of the hill.

Remember to modify your effort to match the conditions.  In other words, if you are going up hill, slow down.  By shortening your stride length and landing further towards the ball of your foot, you won’t have to bull your way up the hill, you can spin up it.  Just like a cyclist, you’ve got gears. Why ride up a hill in your biggest gear when you can change them to find an easier one.

This is the key to hills, don’t attack the hill, use good form and technique to spin up it.

The hill is not your enemy.  The hill was there before you were born and will still be there after you are gone. Don’t obsess with hills, they are only gentle rises in the terrain.  Make friends with the hill and be gentle with yourself and the topography.

So this week, for one of your runs, find a route with some easy to moderate hills and practice becoming a friend with a hill.

Or as a friend says, “It’s just a hill, get over it.”  It’s a bit of philosophy that can be applied to running as well as life in general.

L2R Week 6 Workouts

  • Warm Up: 3-5 minutes of brisk walking.
  • Interval Training: 30-40 minutes
    • Run: 1:50
    • Walk: 1:10
    • Do exactly the interval times listed, don’t do more because you feel good
    • Pick a few hills and practice your uphill technique.
    • Slow down on the uphills, it’s about consistent effort.
  • Cool Down: 3-5 minutes of brisk walking.
  • Stretch: 2 minutes

Learn 2 Run: Basics
Learn 2 Run: Week 1
Learn 2 Run: Week 2
Learn 2 Run: Week 3
Learn 2 Run: Week 4
Learn 2 Run: Week 5
Learn 2 Run: Week 6
Learn 2 Run: Week 7
Learn 2 Run: Week 8
Learn 2 Run: Week 9
Learn 2 Run: Week 10

(1) Hill Repeats: An interval training technique that involves a warmup, followed by a number of repeats, running up the hill to the top, then recovering on the return back down to the bottom.  The hill shouldn’t be too steep, the gradient consistent and it should take you 3-5 minutes to complete each uphill section.  Run the first repeat at a moderate pace.  The time it took then becomes your target time for the remainder of your repetitions.  Generally, keep doing the hill until you can’t make the target time anymore. Usually 4-8 repeats, it should start easy, but it will get harder with each successive interval.