Running up hills

I know this sounds daft and having been running for four years I should know, but what is the best way to run up hills. I have a short stride but am working to lengthen this - is it better to run up hill on your toes to give more bounce?

Advice appreciated




  • lean slightly forward and take slightly smaller steps. focus at a point just in front of you, rather than looking at top of the hill, as this only re-inforces to you how much further it is.

    Having said that I am the worlds worst hill runner, staggering up like I am pulling a weight behind me, with a face so red cars slow down to see it.
  • GavoGavo ✭✭✭
    There was a piece in RW about this a while ago. Agree with Daisy about the stance & do the opposite (like Michael Johnson or Forrest Gump) when running downhill.

    No idea on whether or not to run on your toes - I never do & I try & do hills on most of my training runs.
  • Oh yes, use your arms to help 'pull' you up, - think of steam trains. I have tried this and it does work if you have got the energy.
    Then you can celebrate making like Forest down the other side.
  • Agree with Daisy about slightly smaller steps but disagree about leaning forward. I read an article a long time ago in RW about hill running and it said you should lean back a little so that in effect you are at a right angle to the ground. Also said that you should slow down just a tad, relax your leg muscles and not push too hard. I have tried all of these along with not looking to far ahead up the hill and have found they all work and have acheived some good PB's on undulating courses.

    Good luck.
  • I don't know where I have got lean forward advice from, so I can't claim any scientific basis. However i will say its natural (for me anyway) to lean into a hill on the way up (ie forwards) and then lean back slightly on the way down.
    I think the RW article to which Alan refers also recommended trying to keep a constant effort up the hill, rather than speed, which would obviously mean you would slow down on the way up. I always do this and them manage to speed up over the brow of the hill and recover on the down or on the flat.
  • Alan - slow down a tad - on some hills near us you have no choice but to slow down a tad!! I think the keeping upright, rather than lean forward may refer to keeping your lungs as open as possible to get as much air as possible into them??

  • Agree with the more upright position allowing more air into the lungs also with taking slightly shorter steps. I would also add that getting up on the balls of my feet helps, along with picking a point to focus on and using my imagination to pull me up the hill. Like thinking of my legs as bicylce wheels turning over smoothly-it works!

    Where I live I have no option than finishing every run with a hill. Attack them, that's the answer!
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