Dec 122010

When running hills, many look up at a hill and say, “Oh my!” They panic before giving themselves a chance. A great place in Salem to practice hills is at the Soap Box Derby track in Bush Park. It doesn’t come overnight, so be patient and keep practicing your form work. You’ll get better and better as you keep working at it. Here are some tips to help you remember.

  • Eyes: Keep your eyes focused on the top of the hill. Don’t look down.
  • Visualization: As you run up the hill with your eyes up, visualize someone at the top of the hill pulling you up with a rope that’s tied to a central spot between your hips. Creative Visualization is an amazing tool that top athletes frequently use. If you practice this, you will actually “feel” your hips being drawn up the hill by this invisible rope.
  • Hips: Lead with your hips and keep them going “straight” up the hill. Visualize small headlights attached to the front of your hip bones. You need to keep those headlights centered on the road! Don’t let them “weave” back and forth across the road.
  • Head: Keep your head up! Looking up and keeping your head erect puts your body (especially your spine and hips) in the right position. It also doesn’t rob you from oxygen.
  • Short Steps: Maintain a quick cadence and keep your stride length short. Don’t over-stride.
  • Arms: Use your arms, but don’t overdo it! Reach back with your hands far enough to brush the sides of your hips.
  • Keep Going: Continue past the top of the hill and concentrate on using good form for several more yards after you’ve crested the top. Keep up the quick cadence. Going up hills with good form is very important. However, being able to continue after you’ve “conquered the hill” is what will make you more efficient, stronger and faster.


Look up – deep breath

Look down – deep breath

You need oxygen when going uphill

Eyes up – head up – oxygen

Spine straightens up – hips align – increased efficiency

And remember the tow rope

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