How to Enjoy Running Hills

By Hayden Shearman

Many of us avoid hills like the plague. But hidden amidst the slog and grind of running uphill are all sorts of rewards for the runner, including fitness and the most epic scenery a runner can find. So, here are five tips to help you enjoy hills as much as possible.

1) Realise they’re harder than the flat. That might seem like an obvious statement, but a hill is a pressure cooker that condenses everything, making it much harder to find that line between crushing it and being crushed. And this is why pacing becomes so important in the hills …

2) Pacing! If you run 30 or 40 seconds per KM faster than your easy pace on the flat, you’ll find things start to get pretty gnarly, but on the hills the difference between cruising and being crushed is only a handful of seconds per KM. So, you need to be more in tune with your body and ask yourself if you can genuinely hold this pace uphill for a decent period of time. More often than not, runners start a hill too fast.

3) Technique: The other thing that gets tested in the hills is your technique. Poor posture, slow cadence and weak arm drive will all get shown up on the hills. So, actively think about your technique when you encounter a hill and you’ll find that hill a little kinder. And if you’d like more clues, check out our Audio Coach guide on hill running.

4) Don’t look at the watch: In the hills and trails, your pace means next to nothing. So, instead of being glued to your watch, tune into your internal speedometer and enjoy the opportunity of not having to lean on technology.

5) Look to the top & enjoy the view once you get there: A great mental and technique tip is to look to the top of the hill you’re running up and imagine someone is up there with a rope that is tied around your middle and they’re pulling you up. This gets you in a great postural position and is really helpful mentally, plus it means you’re more likely to take in the view around you, which is almost always epic once you’ve found your way to the top!

Happy hill running!