Can’t go under it. Can’t go around it. Gotta go over it!
Unfortunately, when a hill comes up on a racecourse there is no other way to get to the other side other than to go over it. So, learn to embrace those dreaded hills because they aren’t going anywhere.
This can be difficult for those of us whose times take a hit by an incline, no matter how small it is. But there is a way to stand up to that hill and not let it kill your pace: hill repeat, repeat, repeat.
Hill repeats are your best plan of attack for getting your body physically ready to head up to higher ground. Practicing hill repeats consistently will not only make you faster up hill, but also can help you become an overall better and faster runner on flat ground.
After you have warmed up find a hill steep enough that requires you to spring off your toes, or has around a 10 percent grade. Sprint up the hill for 20-30 seconds at a near all-out effort. Take your time getting back down the hill and give yourself enough time to recover before you head up for another sprint. Repeat at least six to eight more times. Try out different hills with different grades and sprint a little longer, 30-40 seconds, on hills not as steep. Mixing it up and trying out different hills can only more prepare you for your race and will also keep you from getting bored.
Fatigue is going to hit you hard when pushing up hill and form is the first thing to fail. However, while you are practicing hill repeats it is important to continue concentrating on form. Make sure to:
1. Look ahead to help you stand tall as the incline will make you want to hinge forward.
2. Drive up your knees while still staying light on your feet, helping to quicken your stride.
3. When your feet start slowing down, focus on pumping your arms, and your feet will follow.
4. Try to stay relaxed and breath as normally as possible.
Work in hill repeats to your running schedule once or twice a week and you are sure to power over any hill in your next race. Hill repeat, repeat, repeat!