Cross Country and Steep Hills

How to go faster up steep hills for when you get to the top to keep your momentum?

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your running question.
Hill running is tough. The best way to train for it is to do it regularly. Regardless of technique, just practicing this often is what makes your legs stronger and that is what will make you go up those hills faster.

I like to incorporate hills into my easy runs and long runs. Not to race up them, but to condition the legs. And in races I find myself passing many people on the steep parts of the track.

In addition to regular hill work, my preferred way of climbing a hill is to take smaller steps and focus on rapid turnover of the legs. The bigger steps you take the tougher it is. Compare it with walking up the stairs one step at a time versus skipping steps in between. You immediately feel it on the quads when you start skipping steps. So, smaller steps definitely helps in my opinion.

Lastly, there is a bit of a psychological factor with climbing hills. When you get to the top, everybody seems to relax and decrease speed. Like you have made it and the race is over. Focus in your training on keeping the pace going. Don't finish the hill at the top, continue on for 30 seconds and concentrate on keeping the momentum going.

Also see my hill running page for some specific drills and hill running tips.

Hope this helps.
Kind regards,

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