2 tough workouts that will help you to conquer steep hills

Are hills your nemesis?   Maybe you just can’t seem to catch your breath on the ups or are tentative on the downs.  Try out these workouts to improve your skills and fitness so you can conquer those hills with confidence!

Stair add-ons:

You need to find a location that has multiple flights of stairs.  An office building, stadium or if you live in the Denver metro area Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Stair work is one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular fitness but more importantly it helps to improve your motor skills and turnover (or cadence).

The Drill: 
Run up one flight of stairs and back down again.  Next 2 flights of stairs and down, 3 flights and down and so on, adding a flight each time until you reach the top.  THEN, repeat a reverse set, going down one flight and back up, down 2 flights and back up and so on until you reach the bottom.   Make sure you take the steps one at a time.

Tips on form: 
Focus on quick feet up AND down the steps.   This doesn’t mean trying to get to the top as quickly as possible but working on mastering short quick steps.   Make sure that your arm swing matches the pace of your foot turnover, your upper body is an important part of the equation and proper arm drive will help you to run more efficiently.

Hill add-on repeats:

About to head down the steep 1/2 mile hill at North Table mnt park!

 This is another fun yet tough drill that will help to improve your endurance and uphill and downhill running skills and technique.   You need a long hill that is not too technical (a long dirt road or even paved road will work fine for this drill).  Ideally 1/2 mile or longer.   Check out our post on recommended long hills in Colorado for some ideas.

The Drill:
Start by running 1 minute up the hill and then 30 secs down the hill.  Next run up 2 minutes, 1 minute down, 4 minutes and 2 minutes down, 6 minutes and 3 minutes down.  Continue in this pattern until you reach the top of the hill and then if you have the energy, repeat the workout in reverse going down the hill!!

Tips on form:
Make sure to lean slightly into the hill on the way up, picking up your knees, pump your arms and take short quick steps.  Focus on looking ahead and keep your chest up and open (so you can fully expand your lungs and get that much needed oxygen to your hard working legs!).  On the downhill sections, relax and try not to sit back or “break”, you should be perpendicular with the hill.  Let your cadence increase and take short quick steps, make sure to scan ahead on the trail.

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