The hill practices officially began! 6 more weeks of them to go! They are definitely tough, but I know they are good for me. It’s hard to condense a 20 minute workout explanation into a few sentences, but I will try.
For endurance running, rather than racing up hills, you want to be efficient, you don’t want to expend so much energy that you die later on. You want to maintain a consistent effort level whether you are going up, down or flat. So you pace might be slower on the hill, but you effort will be the same.
Here are a few tips from my coach on being as efficient as possible while running hills aka don’t waste energy:
- Keep your back straight, don’t hunch at the waist, this shortens your legs range of motion and activates lower back and hip muscles, which can become strained.
- Run with your elbows back and arms almost parallel to the ground. If you just concentrate on swinging your elbows back at a fairly fast pace, your feet will follow with short fast strides.
- Shorten your strides, short fast strides up the hill will keep you from having to lift your legs high to take long strides while going up.
Our workout was simple, run from the Boat House up Cat Hill to the stop light and recover back. Do this loop until the you are told you can stop.
We warmed up to the boathouse, and since I was “warming up” with Frank, I was running under a 9 minute mile. When we got to the Boat House, a major protest was going on, which made things a bit more interesting.
Then we pushed up the hill concentrating on form and technique. At almost every lap one of the coaches would run with us and critique our form.
I made it just past Cat Hill before I got caught.
I learned that I hunch forward and I really have to concentrate on straightening my back and opening up the chest. I did this and immediately it made it easier to breath. I realize that I need to work on my posture all the time, not just while running. It actually took a lot of effort to concentrate on staying tall the whole practice, but it made a big difference.
Once we got to the stoplight, we ran slowly down the hill. By my third or fourth lap, I was really starting to tense in my neck, shoulder and arms, so the coach helped me focus on relaxing and just using the elbows, this really increased my speed.
We stopped after about 40 minutes and cooled down to the mall.
I feel like there are so many none running things I need to do to become a better runner and I only have so much time, stretching, strengthening the back, working on balance, it’s a little overwhelming!
In other running news, this week’s Hip and Healthy post on NBC Go Healthy is about Summer Streets—including my top 5 things to see and do.
Amelia has a fabulous picture of the sand castle on her blog, so check it out!
One week left to catch the action!