In my last blog post, we established that either Maria Von Trapp is some kind of super human woman (because she can run up hill, seven children in tow, carrying a guitar, AND singing) or this scene is a figment of Hollywood’s imagination.
More importantly, though, I did my best to convince you to incorporate hill repeats into your running training program.
Today, I’ll provide details on the how-to of hill repeats.
How to Run Hill Repeats:
1. No matter how effectively I convinced you to run hill repeats, you can’t start running them immediately without developing a base of running training. You’ll risk an injury if you jump on the hills immediately as a beginning runner. And we all know that injuries are the arch-enemy of all runners, right?
2. It’s important to warm up your muscles before you start running the hill repeats. Stretch as you would before any run (you do stretch, right?). Run or jog for 10 minutes before you arrive at the bottom of the hill. You’ll want to cool down, too, after the hill repeats. So, it’s a good idea to park your car in a position that gives you a 10-minute run to and from the base of the hill.
3. When I am about to run up a hill, I square myself off at the bottom of the hill. Really, this is just a mental game I play with myself. I look at the the hill, and I say, “
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die I’m coming for you, hill!”
4. Begin up the hill, running slowly at first. Get the feel of the hill. Your first time or two up the hill should be slow enough for you to get the feel of the incline of the hill, and establish your running form.
5. Speaking of form, keep these tips in mind:
• As you are running up the hill, look at the top of the hill – not at your feet.
• Your back should be straight. Lean slightly from your ankles towards the hill so that you are working with gravity – not against it.
• Your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Keep your arms close to your body and pump them as you run to help you gain momentum up the hill.
• Start with a short stride, and push off of your toes to power up the hill. Take smaller, quicker steps up the hill.
6. As you reach the top of the hill, your legs should feel tired and you should be breathing heavy. Turn around and go down the hill by either walking down or by jogging slowly. (I admit it, this is my favorite part of hill repeats!)
7. Start out with 2-3 hill repeats. Add one repeat per week up to a total of 10-12 hill repeats.
8. Hill repeats should be considered a “hard” workout, so don’t do them more than once per week. And, don’t sequence your weekly workouts in such a way that long runs or other “hard” workouts occur sequentially with the hill repeats.
9. Try running hill repeats on different hills to gain experience and to change up workout intensity on varying inclines.
10. After you’ve completed your hill repeats, be sure to cool down with a 10-minute jog or easy run.
11. In the days following your first hill repeats, you may feel sore in your glutes and your quads. That’s normal and should be expected when you are giving those muscles a new and different kind of workout.
And there you have it. I can’t guarantee that running hill repeats will turn you into Julie Andrews (or Carrie Underwood – see yesterday’s post). However, hill repeats will increase your confidence, mental toughness, and speed as a runner.
This post is dedicated to my hill running buddy, Kim. Here we are in the dark, cold hours of the early morning doing our last set of hill repeats before our half-marathon on Sunday. We are decidedly not looking like Maria Von Trapp or Julie Andrews. And no, we did not sing.