I have mentioned (or whined) a few times this summer how running has felt hard to me the past few months. Now that I am not really training for anything immediate, it’s the perfect time for me to go Back To Basics with my running. I have been working on my form again and really hoping I can avoid some of the over use injuries I’ve had in the past. While running with my trainer last weekend, we focused on hill running and the importance of maintaining the correct form going both up and down hills.
Back To Basics
You might think that because I am certified running coach that I would be able to notice and correct these things in my own running. It doesn’t really work that way for me. I have a hard time identifying issues with my own stride and I am glad that I can get real time feedback from time to time from my trainer.
Since I rarely run on a treadmill or a track, I encounter changes in grade and hills on almost every run outside. Learning how to more effectively run on them will not only help my pace but help me stay injury free. You often hear of runners describing hill work as speed work in disguise which is true if you do it correctly.
I am a very kinesthetic learner. I often have to physically do things in order to learn them instead of just reading or watching how to do them. Running form is one of those learning experiences I have to feel to get it. I had an “Aha” moment while walking up and down the stairs which I believe can translate into running up and down hills.
When you ascend a steep stair case, you have to pick your knees up while keeping a forward tilt (from your ankles) to match the grade of the stairs to keep your balance and avoid falling backwards. Your weight is most likely on the middle to forward part of your foot. Arms move casually with you as you go up naturally looking ahead and not down at your feet. When going down those same stairs, you learn to lean slightly back to avoid toppling over your own feet. Those same principles can apply to running hills. Back to Basics right?
Running downhill sometimes feels harder than running uphill. I have to find the perfect balance of leaning back slightly to avoid the falling feeling but not too much so that I put the brakes on by allowing my feet to get too far ahead of me. Uphill running feels a little more natural to me. I am concentrating on matching the grade of the hill and leaning from my ankles. I am working hard on going Back To Basics. I know it’s going to be challenging but I hope it will pay off in the fall.
A few tips from my friends:
-How MCM Mama uses hills as speedwork
-Nic on the mental side of running hills
-Hill workouts for any distance runner from Suz
Tell me have you gone back to basics with your running or fitness? How did it work out for you?