Learning to Love Hills

Photo: Atlanta Track Club/Julia Simmons.

It’s no secret that Atlanta has its fair share of hills. While many people dread them, there’s no need to! Mastering hills will make you a stronger runner – so here are some tips to help you conquer any hill with confidence.

Rise to the Occasion:
Most people are mainly concerned about running uphill. Running on an incline is challenging, but think of the gains you will be making in your fitness instead of how hard it is. Focusing on your form can also help you push through a tough hill. Make sure you:

  • Land on the midfoot or forefoot
  • Do not lean at the waist; it decreases the power of the hip flexors and knee drive
  • Think about running tall and looking up the hill
  • Take shorter, quicker steps while driving the hind leg backwards
  • Keep your shoulders over the hips

What Goes Up Must Come Down:
While running downhill is less intimidating, it is important to maintain good form. Here are some things to think about:

  • Do not overstride or land on the heel; landing on the heels will cause sore shins
  • Take quick steps and land with a level foot for the best balance
  • Use the arms for balance and engage the core
  • Like driving a car, look ahead and not down at your feet
  • Lean slightly forward from the ankles keeping the upper body inline or slightly ahead of the legs
  • Any time you feel out of control, just lean the shoulders back and it will help slow you down

Try out What You’ve Learned:
If you’re ready to take on a challenge, sign up for the PNC Atlanta 10 Miler or 5K on Sunday, October 22. Both courses start and finish at Atlantic Station. Click here to register online.

Amy Begley
Coach – Atlanta Track Club