Hills

thoughts and tactics

16 messages
20/08/2002 at 12:38
I'm similar, Tim. I give a quick look at the hill to see how long it is, then shorten stride and put head down, looking about 6-10 feet ahead. All the time my brain is saying 'Go, Liz (McColgan), you can do it'. we all have our little fantasies.
20/08/2002 at 12:51
A runner I bumped into on holiday gave me the following advice for running up hills:-

head down, arse out, mind in neutral.
20/08/2002 at 13:30
If it's a long straightish hill I am sometimes reassured by looking behind me to see how far I have come. This can conteract the illusion of not getting anywhere (unless of course I haven't got anywhere). I then think of myself as Lance Armstrong pulling away up Mt Ventoux or Alp d'Hues (all spellings phonetic).
20/08/2002 at 13:40
I usually pick a tree/lamppost/doggy-doo not too far ahead, to run to, saying to myself "I can stop when I get there if I want/need to". As I approach it, I pick another target a little bit further ahead, and tell myself "I can probably just about get there"..and so on.

It usually works.............but not always.
WildWill    pirate
20/08/2002 at 13:46
I live in a rather hilly area and always found hills a major problem, that was until the last 6-months or so – now I really enjoy hilly runs (sad I know)

I normally decrees my stride length while maintaining good cadence – I’ve found that it is easier to increase stride length at the top of a climb than trying to increase the speed of tired legs – so far this has helped me achieve new PB’s at all of my race distances since I started this approach :o)

On long hills try not to look to far ahead as this can be a bit of a de-motivator also try and maintain a good running posture and listen to your body – don’t attack to hard and blow before the top

Will
20/08/2002 at 13:49
It still amazes what some runners call 'a hill'. If anyone has done the Stamford 30k in February then those are hills.

I sometimes think of them as inclining slopes.

I also have a little moto I say to myself "take the hill, don't let it take you!" which some times works.
20/08/2002 at 14:07
Tim

I live in an extremely hilly area, my problem is not running up but how to avoid running down too quickly! (See my knee thread).

I think the best way to counter hills is to be scientific and use an HRM. Most of my runs include a minimum 5 km uphill and on a long slow run (where my HR is around the 150 mark - 75% of maximum) I will let this increase to 165-168 (up to 85% of maximum) and not worry at all about pace.

This corresponds to a slowing down, but to keep my HR at 150 would probably result in slowing to a walk and, based on experience, I know I can hold 165 for a considerable time.

Also agree with WW, even on the steepest slopes its always better to shorten stride and increase cadence - this only becomes very tiring when the hill is so steep that you have to land on your toes - I know as I tried some hill running in the alps this year.
Ratbag    pirate
20/08/2002 at 14:12
With me, it's personal. I also play a psychological game. Firstly, I look at the hill and decide where, for me, the hill 'starts'. This is normally about 1/4 the way up the hill. At that point, I shorten my stride and just push away until I get to the top. As far as I am concerned, I have now 'conquered' the hill and I get a great feeling of achievement. Bring on the next one!!!

I'm starting to like hills.

That's a bit worrying....isn't it?
20/08/2002 at 14:17
My dad always says:
'Hills are a runners best friend'

I always think that one hilly mile has got to be worth at least two flat ones in terms of effort therefore it's more efficient.
20/08/2002 at 16:51
Psychology is a lot to do with it. I know this sounds perverse but as I live in a hilly area I actually like running up hills. There's something very satisfying about feeling my body being capable of carrying on uphill; it doesn't get me mentally like cycling uphill does; in fact it makes me feel strong. When I'm on a bike it feels like the hill's 'against me' and trying to make it hard for me, I know this sounds totally irrational. If I'm running on a dead flat straight road it feels neverending and that's much harder.

This really helps in hilly races since many runners dread them, and often end up walking or slowing down a lot.

I also shorten my stride; sometimes I slow down a lot, other times I try to run as fast as possible to get my heart rate up. A few days ago I ran to the top of Kirkstone pass in the Lake District; just had time for a short run on the way home and believe it or not I really enjoyed it.
I think the only downside is (apart from risking hill-related injuries as Martin has pointed out) that pacing yourself is much harder; my local hilly loops add about 0.5 min/mile compared with flat routes.
20/08/2002 at 17:11
I prefer courses that include hills.

However, there is a saying that if you run hills everyday then it can make you a slower hill runner.

My attack on hills is to pick the furthest point and then to imagine being pulled towards this point. When I reach it if it's not at the top I'll do the same again until I get all the way up. Also I try to lengthen my stride as I get to the top of a hill with the intention of running strongly on the other side. In races I notice that quite a few runners use the top of a hill to recover, which is where you can gain an advantage if you can maintain a strong pace.
20/08/2002 at 17:13
Have no real 'trick' for running up hills, but I do try not to look up - as soon as I do, and I realise how far is to go - kind of deflates the moment....

I have ran many mountain fell races -Up and down Ben Nevis, Skiddaw etc - these are to painful to think of anything other than one foot in front of the other - the main thing I learned from these is that it can be quicker and less effort to walk - I walked on a steep part of skiddaw, and actually pulled away from guys 'running' alongside me - I'm sure I used less energy.....
20/08/2002 at 18:56
Having just come back from holiday in Brittany where there were no flats at all, I suddenly find myself enjoying hills as well, like quite a few of you have mentioned. And I'm sure the reason is quite as much psychological as physical.

However, one thing that was really daunting was entering the local 10K which took place on the third day there - and we're talking a really small fishing village here not some big metropolis and there's me thinking I've got a good chance of placing quite well - and finding myself utterly outclassed on the hilly two lap course. These local guys were literally swarming up those hills on a seriously hot day, without slackening the pace (like I was) - it really brought home to me that to race hills you've got to train on hills, which I guess is kinda obvious, but somehow one hopes is not really true.

Hilly's point about becoming a slower hill runner from running too many hills day in day out is an interesting one - but I think the answer to that is to make sure you also run hill repeats, the more gruelling the pace and the incline the better. I always find this makes the biggest difference to my running not just up hill but also on the flat, whenever I can face the agony of actually doing them. I do think that if you're always running hilly circuits at a training pace then you could well end up a slower runner - running too slow too often actually teaches the body to run slow and suppresses its ability to run faster, whether you're talking about hills or not.

enough of this - it's too exhausting even to write about. thanks goodness my next race is nice and flat (I hope). s.
20/08/2002 at 19:45
Oldbones' lent me his HRM and using it for the first time ever last Friday I got up a 1/2-3/4 mile, '1:virtually nothing' hill which has always defeated me before. I used the HRM to go really slow at the bottom of the hill so that by the time I'd reached the top I was doing my maximum which I know I can sustain for 4 minutes - just. Then at the top instead of trying to hare off I actually allowed myself to keep going slowly til my HR had recovered.

OK you've all probably discovered the benefits of HRM's before - but I was dead chuffed Friday night.

Still dreading the 3 mile hill at the end of Loch Ness though......!

Shattered by name and shattered by nature.
20/08/2002 at 20:21
Well done on the hill run SS... I try to avoid them, but to get to up them I just look a few yards in front, and concentrate on keeping my breakfast down. I didn't know there was a 3 mile hill at the end of this marathon... I was having enough problems reasuring myself I could do it .... not good news :-(
20/08/2002 at 21:37
Oh dear, sorry to add to the bad news Daisy Duke - but Nessie also says there's 2 or 3 really steep hills in the first quarter of the marathon as well - and when I sent her a panicky 'I cant do this' e-mail today - she said 'There's no point training for them they're too steep - just plan to walk them!'

Still you're welcome to join us for the race to be last ! We're aiming for an 11.30 min mile average but will probably slow to a walk for the final uphills..as well as the earlier ones!

How's your training going - I'm way behind target on the long runs - but will try and do a 15 miler tomorrow, or next week!

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