Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Running Advice Installment 6

When training on hills, there are two topics to discuss, uphill and downhill. Uphill can present challenges in the sense of increased level of effort. One way to help get up a hill is to pretend you're on a bike and just keep on pedaling and cycling your legs. For some reason, this seems to help. Another tip is to avoid looking at the top of the hill, this can prove daunting and downright disheartening. Just keep your eyes straight ahead.
If you find the temptation to look up too great, instead of looking all the way to the top, try to pick out objects along the course and tie your eyes to it. Use this imaginary rope to pull yourself up the hill.

Downhill presents an entirely different challenge. While perceived effort is much less, it behooves us to be careful when running downhill. Downhill running increases the likelihood of injury due to increased pounding on the legs. A trick to maintain good form while going down hill is to kick the heels back in a slightly exagerated back kick. If you are familiar with strides that track, baseball, football, or soccer teams may perform, you may be familiar with this exercise. These concentrate the impact to the quadriceps and reduce the potential damage invoked by the downward pounding.

Downhills are not entirely bad. They can provide a few moments of rest. The key is to not allow the hill to carry you away but instead approach it in a more controlled manner. Allow the hill to pull you downward but don't let the hill own you. Own the hill. Up and Down. :)

A side note on a somewhat related subject. Running behind another runner can be beneficial by allowing that runner to set the pacing and cut the wind. This helps a good deal psychologically and can help to pull/push you along when feeling less than fresh and feeling the burn. Focus your eyes on the middle of the person's back and just stick with them. Clearly, you should not allow them to completely dictate your pace but it can be a useful technique for persevering.
Happy running,
Coach Andrew (Dre)

"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 3:14

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