Racing uphill whether in a marathon, race or just for training can all be difficult if you don’t know the tricks to doing it. Yup, there are tricks that make this easier, both physically and mentally. Uphill needs a little tweaking to ensure you get more oxygen into your blood stream and you manage to maximize power without eating up vital resources. So let’s start already!
- Probably the most critical of all elements is to ensure you keep your chest open and always up. While you will hear folks calling out to lean into the hill, do not do this as it pushes you to hunch when you lean forward. In turn, this will constrict air into your lungs thus making it harder to breathe. Another subtle point to remember is to always lean from the hips and never the waist.
- Always keep your eyes and head pointed up, looking at a point 30 meters ahead of you. Never drop your head and this applies to all surfaces and all kinds of running. This will help you to stop slouching. While you do that remember to move your arms forward and backward like pistons. Just like pistons they should be moving to and fro with a 90 degree angle maintained at the elbows.
- Your entire focus should be on driving away from the hill surface and not into it. The best way to manage this is to intentionally land on the ball of your foot. This acts like a spring board making you jump off the surface instead.
- Use the Planter flex. In layman’s term it means pointing your toes towards the ground as you explode off your ankle. This acts like a springboard allowing you to quickly propel off the surface with the least energy spent.
My good friend Thomas Boxtiger who runs TheBoxTigerMusic.com and was once part of the Box Tiger band also advises that you keep yourself hydrated prior to going upwards. “Being able to drink a ton of water before a big slope will keep you instantly hydrated and refueled.”
Always remember to ration your energy. Do not push yourself at the start of a hill race. Always manage your energy levels because you will need it the closer you get to the top and the closer you come to the top, the harder it becomes to breath!