How to Transform Your Love for Running Hills

By Hayden Shearman //

When you encounter hills in a workout or race, how should you tackle it? How should your technique change? And what about downhill is that different to uphill?

Here’s five points to give you more confidence to be strong in the hills.

  1. Look Up & Stand Tall: Avoid the temptation to look down at your feet when you’re running uphill. Instead, position your head and torso in a way to view the top of the hill imagining a rope tied around your middle pulling you to the top.
  2. Quick Feet: If keeping cadence high is important when running on the flat, it’s twice as important whenever you hit the hills. Ultimately it reduces the amount of vertical propulsion (when running uphill) or absorption (when running downhill) that you have to do—saving you energy and reducing strain on your legs.
  3. Drive the Arms: The arms are the conductor in the orchestra of your body when running. So use them to create the sort of output you’re after.
  4. Run OVER the Hills: Many runners ease off the gas just as they reach the top of the climb. It’s a good habit to get into to power over the top of hill. This is a great tactic in racing situations when you’re making a critical pass just before the top of a hill.
  5. Float Downhill: Gravity slows you down on the way up a hill, so let it speed you up on the downhill by going with the motion. Lean into the hill, keep your stride rate high and hold your arms wide for balance—enjoy the free speed!

To dive deeper into your hill running technique, have you seen our Audio Coach episode on Hill Running Technique?