Although the word “hill” is just one vowel switch away from a hot, terribly inhospitable destination, the truth is hills don’t have to be the devilish things our minds often make them out to be. A few ways to climb efficiently:
1. Arms, Not Legs
Think about running hills with your arms, not your legs. Next time you’re on a steep incline, make a mental shift that 70% of your power is coming from upper body It may not be totally true, but this is: Your feet naturally fall in line with your arms, so if your focus is on a rhythmic, deliberate arm swing, your lower body has no choice but to go along for the climb.
2. A Slow Build
At the bottom of a long hill, glance up and divide it into thirds. For the two thirds, think of it as a warm-up; keep your pace at a very manageable level. (Note: we didn’t say easy level. Climbing typically isn’t easy.) When you hit the last third, simply aim to keep your pace strong and solid. You may not speed up, but you won’t slow down, which is what typically happens on am-I-gasp-finally-gasp-there? long hills.
3. Don’t Slow Down
With that pace you’re holding, there’s no excuse to ease up once your feel that muscular relief as you crest the hill. Run 10 more strong, solid steps to get up and over the hill—and stay ahead of the competition—then enjoy the downhill.
Now that you’re at the top, check out our tips for getting back downhill.