Follow My Trail

A couple of weeks ago I went up to Luke’s parents in Gloucestershire and his Dad asked whether I wanted to join him for a run the next day along the Malverns. The Malverns are around 13km long and the highest point peaks at 425 metres. The route we would be doing was around 5km and included 10 climbs. I was actually rather excited as the views from the Malverns are great and although I have done some hiking including the 3 Yorkshire Peaks and Snowdon I have never ran up any proper hills. Another factor to wanting to run along the Malverns was that within my marathon training I am really keen to mix up my running and try different things that will challenge my pain threshold (not horrendously so) but keep it exciting and push those barriers.
The run was really fun and I loved doing something different, however it was my technique which I really struggled with, I realised I had no real idea of how to run properly up the steep sections of the climbs. This probably sounds silly and perhaps I was over thinking it but I was genuinely unsure on whether my technique was right or not. On the really steep sections I was basically tip toeing my way up rather slowly and then on less steep sections I was able to push off my foot a lot better to get some speed. When I say speed here I just mean in comparison to how slowly I was running before.
So after the run I decided to research the best way to run up hill when trail running. To my surprise I actually found it quite difficult to source the information I needed ad found some conflicting ideas. However this is a summary of the main things I found:
Uphill Technique

  • Land/Push off between your mid-foot and forefoot
  • Shorten your stride
  • Stand tall (slight lean from the hips not waist)
  • Look forwards (but looking up can also be daunting)

Downhill Technique

  • Engage your core
  • Use your arms to balance
  • Look forwards not down at your feet (you want to be thinking about your next steps)
  • Run down with confidence

Then last Friday morning (yes running in the morning) I decided let’s give hills another go and joined Adidas Run Club. The guys met in Clerkenwell and ran to and then through Regents Park and across to Primrose hill. We did 45 seconds of running up hill with a jog back down as recovery. We did this for about 20 mins and the idea was to get faster each time. I found the techniques useful but this was slightly different terrain and it’s on tarmac rather than rocky hills. One thing to really take into account is high knees and activating those glutes….all about the glutes!
On a completely different note I am reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall at the moment and I am loving it. Fascinated by these amazing and perhaps slightly crazy trail runners and thinking these things are actually possible and me doing a marathon is totally achievable. It’s helping the mental side which is what I need so I really recommend it. Here’s a TED talk from Chris about whether we are born to run….

Go hit the trails preparedtotri x

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