I can remember when I first
started running, I tried to avoid
hills at all costs. Why, because they were hard
to run and it was tiring. It was doing nothing for my self
confidence having to break into a walk to get to the top. The
thing is, this was the message I was sending myself and so it was too
hard and too tiring!
day by mistake (or chance) I pitched up to a club run. These
guys were training for the Comrades marathon and
this was supposed to be an “easy” Tuesday run. Now you need
to know that there really are no flat runs in Fish Hoek. For
this particular evening the guys had decided on running what we call "mountain side". This meant
going up each and every road on the Fish Hoek mountainside!
Well I huffed and I puffed all the way. Thankfully the guys
were kind enough to wait for me, while one or two others came back to
fetch me. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be back!
At the end
of the run, Fish
Hoek A.C. president, DJ Price cornered me and
asked me to “just come back” next week. He said that was all
I needed to do. If I ran with them the following week, it
would be a little easier, and if I kept coming back it would get a lot
A week later I was back, my
promise to myself broken, and it was the start of my new relationship
In that week I had a mindset change. I decided, if there was
a hill, I
would run it regardless. I started choosing routes that were
more and more challenging. DJ was right, it did get easier!
I have fine tuned my hill running
since. These are the 4 points I follow:
I approach a hill,
I tell myself “here’s a hill,
lets get to the top of it”. I don’t specify how, only that I
will conquer it. When I reach the top, I always ‘pat’ my leg
and say “well done”.
incorporate a run-walk strategy to uphill
running. I run to the count of 100, followed by
a walk to the count of 50. Why, well 100 is very manageable
and not too challenging so it is relatively easy to run to this
count. Knowing I have a recovery walk to the count of 50 is
like a reward for my effort. You’ll be amazed how quickly you
will get to the top. See my page on “skills to acquire”
for more on the run-walk strategy.
My running technique for uphill running is
simple. I take smaller steps when I run and ‘walk with
purpose’ when walking. I try to maintain my core stability so
watch my posture. No slouching! I have also learnt
not to fight the hills but to tackle them graciously.
this I mean how I finish the hill. Whether I have
incorporated the run-walk strategy into a hill run or not, I always
make sure I run over the crest. This gives me a mental
‘one-up’ on the hill. A nice way to finish!
me, hill training is all about running up hills (stating
the obvious I know!) Other runners prefer to do hill repeats and that
also a good way to train. Basically, if you want to improve
don’t shy away from hills. It’s as simple as that!
Key words: uphill
running, Comrades Marathon, mindset, hill, run-walk strategy
Internal links: skills to
acquire, core stability
External links: Official
Comrades Marathon website,
Hoek Athletic Club