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A few coaches’ notes about the hill workouts this week and next (and again Week 10 and 11).
The grade of hill chosen for these sessions should be moderate and gentle - no greater than 8% and 5% is just fine. For weeks 4-5, a gentler grade of 4-5% is perfect, but you will be limited to what you can find in your area of clinic as well -- so please don’t stress if it’s not perfect!
A gentler grade creates less strain on the achilles and also reduces the impact of going downhill for the recovery portion of the session. This is the same for both walking and running groups - it’s an introduction to the hill repeats and how to build strength by working against gravity, having to lift the legs a bit further (working the hip flexor and the calves/achilles more), and deal with a more difficult aspect to running and walking!
Form is key, with a tall posture and a slight lean into the hill.
Strong arms, driving the body up the hill.
Look to the top of the hill, using the visual of upwards to pull yourself up.
Quick knees, driving up the hill, and quick feet, with a slightly shorter stride (the stride shortens the steeper the grade).
Run with a partner, with each taking turns ‘leading or setting the rhythm’ of the hill. Just for fun!
With WALK - walk easily and relaxed and with less effort on the way back down the hill, trying to still be light on the feet without pounding the heels in.
With the RUN - Run easily back down the hill, being as fluid as possible, with light steps. It will be a more full foot impact when running down, but still try not to land heavily on the heel.
Relax the shoulders and get in good exhales on the way down.
For those in love with visualization (like I am), you can think ‘DANCE!’ on the way up the hill, and visualize a strong magnet pulling you to the stop of the hill in one fluid motion.
Hills are a great chance and opportunity to turn ‘hills are HARD” into ‘I love the the challenge of hills, and I am GREAT at hills!
Have fun with it! Coach Lucy