Sounds crazy right? Definitely an oxymoron, but it can be true!
You can run up hills without tiring as well as decreasing your risk of injury with a couple of specific skills. First thing to do is look at what do people usually do wrong?
1) People sink down really low, and rely on power to “push” themselves up a hill. Runners will often “dig into the hill”, flexing through the hips (shortening the body) then pushing with quads, calves and pulling with glutes and hammies. Each stride is effort and energy: increasing heart rate, tipping you into anaerobic thresholds which means carbon dioxide, lactic acid build-up…you can’t keep this up for long.
So how do you run up hills with less effort?
You want to think of three things:
1. Lengthen through your hips and chest and bring your head to the sky. You lean into the hill from the ankles, (not the hips). This all takes weight off the lower body; preventing you from sinking and switching into effort running.
2. Completely relax your lower body – We refer to this as “jelly legs”. The sensation feels a lot like your legs dangling down from the hips like pieces of string.
3. Finally: you create propulsion without using power- move your legs like you’re on a stepper machine. In this motion the muscles in your lower body relax, you shorten your stride and literally just lift your legs. Don’t push or drive. Because gravity is out in front of you, the stepper action is a bit like controlled “falling” up hill!! Some of the very best ultra runners “rest” on hills. Sounds crazy but it works.
We use the same strategies (adjusted) in the clinic to deload injuries or joints even with walking. Cool technique to have up your sleeve if anything is ever sore and great strategy for walking around Europe when you’re 86 which is all of our goal right!! 😉
Anyway hope this helps for your running season.
If you want help with hill technique for running or walking, email us and we can organise a video analysis and technique program in clinic or via skype to get it right.
Keep sending your questions through. Remember they don’t have to be sport related! All goals are equally important!
Have a great week!
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