Running HillsAs we are moving further into Fall and on into Winter I have mentioned at the last few workouts the importance of proper warm-up with the ever cooling weather. You want to feel well warmed up before getting up to full speed. I know a lot of you are done with most of your racing for the year, feeling like just cruising to the end of the year and picking it up in the New Year. This is a great idea - let your body recover. Don't feel like you have to come to XSNRG every week and go crazy. Sometimes it's nice just to come out to socialize and get a bit of a run in, especially when the weather is not great. I still like to come out to XSNRG in the dead of winter and get some sort of running in, with other people for company. You guys get me out the door, so I don't have to run on the dreaded treadmill! Hopefully that works for you too.
The best way to run hills...
Researches in Australia armed with the latest technology have come up with some valuable guidance. They sent out some runners on a hilly run and measured a wide variety of things, including stride length and oxygen consumption. They came to the conclusion that most runners run too hard uphill and not hard enough downhill. Most runners on the uphill try to maintain the same speed as on flat terrain but end up needing to recover after cresting the climb, thus loosing any time gained climbing. They suggest a better approach is to slow down slightly going up the incline, leading to a faster recovery after cresting the climb.
Runners seem to be limited running downhill due to the jarring effect on the body. The best advice is to maintain speed when you get to the flat terrain for as long as possible until your breathing feels harder again. Some runners seem to be able to run close to their aerobic threshold better than others, which suggests that running downhill is a skill that can be acquired. There's a reason we do not tend to train on downhills...it's hard on our bodies and leads to injury. Instead, they suggest running sprints on gentle downhills. They came to the conclusion that a little more even keel approach is best...a little slower up and a little faster down...which could end up saving you some valuable time - especially when it comes to a race! Happy hill training!