Chi Running Tips for Conquering Hills

There's a reason "Heartbreak Hill" has such an ominous name. At mile 20 of the Boston Marathon, the point when many runners are hitting "the wall," comes the biggest hill on the course. And, that hill has broken many hearts. A looming hill, long or steep, can be intimidating. You lose energy just by anticipating the extra work ahead.

On the other hand, some runners love the challenge of a good hill. Unfortunately, many waste so much energy blasting uphill that they burn through a significant amount their fuel. The pushing and pulling and straining are the perfect ingredients for muscle strain. And, downhill running (the seemingly easy part) is where the most impact occurs and has the greatest potential for injury.

More: Hill Running Made Easy

But, you don't have to dread hills. With ChiRunning, they can become your ally.

Please note: If you're new to ChiRunning, we don't recommend trying to learn it on hills. You're going to break a few ChiRunning rules on the hills, so it's best to practice it correctly on flat ground first.

Uphill Running Technique

It all starts with your mindset. Running uphill doesn't require force or strength; in fact, you should try to expend as little energy as possible. The trick is learning to rely more on your technique so you can rely less on muscle strength. Here are a few form tips to follow:

  • Engage your core and keep your posture straight but forward. Lean into the hill.
  • Shorten your stride and land with your feet under your hips.
  • Swing your arms higher in front of you.
  • Focus on breathing and expand your chest cavity.
  • Think of floating up the hill, like you're a balloon.

Running uphill this way will likely decrease your speed, but don't let that turn you off to this approach. It will save you energy, reduce your risk of injury and you'll be able to make up that lost speed on the downhill.

More: How to Tackle Hill Training

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