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8386 Views 25 Replies Latest reply: Oct 22, 2011 2:00 PM by luv2bhealthy RSS 1 2 Previous Next
luv2bhealthy Amateur 18 posts since
Mar 13, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

Sep 22, 2011 1:26 PM

Do hills EVER get easier?

I am currently training for a 5k in October and an 11k in November.  The 5k is going to be hilly (with 2 fairly steep hills) and I am not sure about the 11k as it is in the Dallas area and I haven't seen the course yet.  Hills are my nemisis.  I always feel like I have lead weights on my feet, and I am so winded by the time I get to the top.  Does it ever get better?  I have run multiple 5ks and a few 10ks so I am not a novice runner.  I hill train and it still doesn't get any easier.  Any suggestions or advice?  Do I just accept that hills are difficult for me?  Thanks!

 

  • chessamarie Rookie 1 posts since
    Sep 22, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Sep 22, 2011 2:15 PM (in response to luv2bhealthy)
    Re: Do hills EVER get easier?

    Trust me, they do. If you keep a steady pace, then power through the crest of the hill, it'll take less energy from you. Also, don't lean forward when running. It compresses your lungs and cuts off your air flow.

     

    Don't accept that hills are too hard. We both know you can do it, expecially if you aren't a novice runner. You've got this.

     

    Hang in there! It gets better!

  • Terranss Legend 268 posts since
    Feb 14, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Sep 22, 2011 2:25 PM (in response to luv2bhealthy)
    Do hills EVER get easier?

    I think for most people, hills will always be a challenge.  It always seems like the faster you can move up a hill, the faster it allows you to run on flat ground, and so you'll never be able to match what you know you can do on level ground when moving up the hill.  It's frustrating psychologically, for sure, and for that reason many people end up overexerting themselves trying to reach the top, which gives them no gas on the flats and downs.

     

    Besides the hill training and hill repeats, doing squats and leg presses with weights will help you strengthen the muscles that will move you up and down the hill.  There is a technique to running hills, too.  Hitting the bottom hard is definitely not the way to go!  Take it slow and steady up the first 2/3 or 3/4 of the hill, and turn on the power only at the end, which will give you a boost at the crest of the hill and help you pick up speed immediately as you hit level ground (or the downhill).

     

    Best of luck on your races!

  • nowirun4fun Legend 208 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Sep 23, 2011 6:25 AM (in response to luv2bhealthy)
    Do hills EVER get easier?

    Do hills every get easier?  Simple answer - no.  They're always going to be a challenge.  Can't imagine anyone reading a marathon course description that says "mostly flat course except for some rolling hills which kick in about mile 20 and really has a beast at 25" and thinking to themselves, "no worries, I'll be ready for it."

     

    Best way for me to work hills is to just embrace them and not dread them.  I usually know they're coming.  As I approach them, I'll look them dead on, not try to avoid them.  I'll focus on the fact that I've completed this hill before (or one just like it) and I know how it is going to feel.  I'll feel the pace of my breathing pick up and know that it is only temporary.  I'll cling to the knowledge that at the top, this is going to get easier and I'll also monitor how long it takes for my breathing to return to a normal pattern.  All this brain activity seems to help keep me focused and distracted at the same time, and usually makes the hills more tolerable for me.  Easier?  No way.

  • protometal Pro 124 posts since
    Aug 31, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Sep 24, 2011 12:41 PM (in response to luv2bhealthy)
    Do hills EVER get easier?

    The only things I have found to make hills easier to deal with is to train by running on them on a regular basis and to take shorter strides. Hopefully, those shorter strides can be a little quicker to make up for them, well, being shorter.

     

    I have gotten slightly better at hills, but they still seem to wear on my legs significantly...





    Protometal

    "Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"-- Henry Ford

    Upcoming races: Super 5k 2/3/13

    Select Recent Results: Brooksie Way Half Marathon - 1:49:09 (Half Marathon PR), Open Door Julie Run 5k - 22:16 (2nd place age group, PR)

    Check out my Running Blog: http://clippinalong.blogspot.com .

  • JasonFitz1 Legend 572 posts since
    Jun 19, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Sep 25, 2011 4:21 PM (in response to luv2bhealthy)
    Do hills EVER get easier?

    Awesome advice by Teranns - nothing more to add except to put in a short surge at the very top of the hill. Your competitors won't know what's coming and it's a great way to put some distance on those who are near you in the race.

     

    Cheers,

    - Jason.





    Strength Running
  • crl8686 Legend 1,302 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Sep 25, 2011 9:13 PM (in response to luv2bhealthy)
    Do hills EVER get easier?

    Most runners are faster on flat ground than in hilly terrain, because you almost always lose more time on the uphills than you can reasonably gain on the downhills. (That is why some races, particularly 5K's, will market themselves as "flat and fast"). In training, you may want to use hills as a form of strength training. In a race, however, you will probably want to run the hills at constant effort - slow down appropriately on the uphills and then speed up appropriately on the downhills. So...do hills get easier if you do a lot of hill training? Physically, probably not - as your legs get stronger, you will take the hills at a faster pace, and the hills will still be a challenge. But they will become mentally easier, which is a big plus in training and especially in racing.

     

    For what it's worth - I recently set a 10K PR on a hilly course, of all places. I do a lot of hill running (living in a neighborhood of rolling hills and almost no flat ground, it's part of life) but this was not a typical PR-friendly course. The first 3 mi were relatively flat, but followed by a series of challenging climbs (moderately steep) and then a downhill finish. But I had done this race several times previously, knew exactly where the hills were, and attacked them just right. So you never know...till you actually do the race. 





    2014 highlights...

    @ 5K: Ontario Mills Run, Ontario, CA, 25:19

    Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:15

    Friends of the Villa Park Library 5K, Villa Park, CA, 24:10

    @ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker Run, Los Angeles, CA, 51:44

    Great Race of Agoura - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 50:31

    Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 50:29


  • Runnergirl0707 Amateur 19 posts since
    Oct 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Sep 26, 2011 6:30 AM (in response to luv2bhealthy)
    Do hills EVER get easier?

    Thanks for the advice!  I finished my first half marathon yesterday and it included about 2 miles of rolling hills between miles 8 and 10.  I knew there would be hills so I had already included them in my training but it seemed like they were never getting easier.  For the race yesterday I remembered what I had read here.  I kept myself upright and did not lean forward.  I took the hills slow and sped up a bit at the top.  It worked like a charm!  I was able to run the entire length of the hills and I even passed people.  I had enough energy to really move on the downhills and still be ready for the next hill to come!

     

    I had been dreading these hills all week and thanks to this advice they became one of the best parts of my half!!





    Upcoming Races:

    Gambler Half Marathon~4/22/2012

    Warrior Dash~6/10/2012

    9/25/11 Omaha Half Marathon~ 2:23:38

  • nowirun4fun Legend 208 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Sep 26, 2011 2:03 PM (in response to luv2bhealthy)
    Do hills EVER get easier?

    @luv2bhealthy - To your observation that "I always feel like I have lead weights on my feet", I think that is routine.  For example, most of my running routes begin outside my development with two decent hills.  Hitting those two hills right away causes the instant hill reaction, gasping for air, and legs "feeling tired".  My guess, which I'd like someone really smart like Jason to chime in on,  is this is just a physiological reaction, where my legs feel heavy due to what I'm guessing is my heart and brain working like hell to rush bloodflow, etc into the places where it's desparately needed the most.  It almost feels like my legs are swelling, and getting heavier, so that's the best explanation I could come up with.  Somehow makes it better during the run if I have an answer for what's going on.  "Legs being tired from the hill" doesn't cut it for me - I just got started - and as soon as the flatter stretch kicks in I feel all refreshed and ready to rock.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,389 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Sep 26, 2011 5:39 PM (in response to nowirun4fun)
    Do hills EVER get easier?

    nowirun4fun wrote:

     

    @luv2bhealthy - To your observation that "I always feel like I have lead weights on my feet", I think that is routine.  For example, most of my running routes begin outside my development with two decent hills.  Hitting those two hills right away causes the instant hill reaction, gasping for air, and legs "feeling tired".  My guess, which I'd like someone really smart like Jason to chime in on,  is this is just a physiological reaction, where my legs feel heavy due to what I'm guessing is my heart and brain working like hell to rush bloodflow, etc into the places where it's desparately needed the most.  It almost feels like my legs are swelling, and getting heavier, so that's the best explanation I could come up with.  Somehow makes it better during the run if I have an answer for what's going on.  "Legs being tired from the hill" doesn't cut it for me - I just got started - and as soon as the flatter stretch kicks in I feel all refreshed and ready to rock.


    I've had that happen in races where I started way faster than I should (1st 3 miles of a 10-miler in 19 minutes when it should have been 23 - 24).  Anyway, it was enough for my doctor to schedule a stress test (which was why I told him about it).  Which tells me that he viewed it as a blood/oxygen supply problem.

     

    Len





    Len

  • waskydiver Rookie 5 posts since
    Aug 19, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Sep 27, 2011 2:10 PM (in response to luv2bhealthy)
    Do hills EVER get easier?

    Best advice I have gotten about hills:

     

    Do NOT look UP a hill.

     

    When running up a hill, look just 5 feet, or so in front of you.

     

    When looking 5 feet in front of you, a hill looks flatter.  You do not get phychologically crushed looking up at the height and angle of the hill.

     

    If you start looking down as you approach the hill, and keep looking down as you climb the hill, there is no visual change to the angle of the hill.

     

    Also, hills get your heart rate racing.  To maximize your speed, try to keep your heart rate high when you level out or start going down.

     

    So... If you hit the bottom of the hill at 155, and your heart rate pushes to 170 going up the hill, many people will go "WHEW... I am over the hill... I can rest now".  And drop their HR down to 145... 150.

     

    If you can stay strong at the top... maybe with a heart rate of 160ish... Relative to the effort you put going up the hill, you ARE resting... and you are going at a much stronger pace than when you started the hill.

     

    Mentally, I think of running up a hill as storing energy in a spring... and when I hit the top of the hill, I am releasing the spring.  Yea... I know... it's not like that at all... Just a mind game I play with myself.

     

    Of course, you have to take into consideration your endurance and where the hill is relative to the rest of the race.  The above works great towards the end of a race for a final kick.  But, at the start of a race, it could burn you out.

  • Forrest Duck Pro 121 posts since
    May 6, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Sep 28, 2011 5:52 PM (in response to waskydiver)
    Do hills EVER get easier?

    Runnergirl, congratulations on your race!

     

    I just read this thread today, so I'm late to this party.  After all the great advice from experienced runners, I have only one little tidbit to offer.

     

    If you are a heal striker (I am), when you hit the hill, land on the forward part of your foot. Landing on the forefoot eliminates the expenditure of energy to roll up hill from the heel to the toes.  You are already on the toes from the landing.  I could not believe how much easier is became to run the hills.

     

    I believe that we do become more proficient, ie, the hills become easier.  crl8686's post suggests this, even though he said "probably not".  But my limited experience says "probably yes".  We just have to train on them.  Our body knows what to do and it will adapt.

     

    Do you mind a little story?  I know this is long.  I'll make a new post.





    Finish well!

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