Below you’ll find some quick thoughts that you will be able to put in to practice during your next hilly event and more importantly be able to remember during the event!
What Not to Do
Try to maintain pace – Maintaining the same pace you were running on flat terrain while going up a hill means you were either running very conservatively on the flats or you’re running very very hard going up.
Neglect downhill workouts in training – Uphill workouts get all the glory, but when you run a net downhill pavement half marathon your quads are going to scream at you for not doing downhill tempo runs or short downhill strides.
Technical trail descents are also very important to practice in training, but less so for the physiological improvements and more so for practice of skill. Doing some technical trail descents at race effort is a nice method of improving.
What to Do
Run up slower based on perceived effort – Research suggests that slowing for the uphill so you’re less fatigued at the top saves you more time than taking the uphill harder in an effort to lose less time going up.
Know that your overall time will slow compared to a flat course – A very simplified (aka easy to calculate but not terribly accurate) way to predict time lost during hilly vs flat course is suggested by coach John Kellogg. He suggests that for every 10 feet of elevation change you may slow by 1.74 seconds.
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