Anyone who has run the Crim knows about the Bradley Hills. Some describe these hills to their friends like a hunter describes his journey to getting the ten point buck, while others don’t really think they are a big deal. Regardless, a little training for the hills beforehand can go a long way on race day. Here are a few tips on how to train and properly run up and down hills.
Hill Training Workout
You can’t train for hills without a hill (unless you have a treadmill), so the first step is to find a good hill to run. Some people head out to Southwestern High School in Flint and run the soap box derby track for a good workout; or better yet, why not actually go down to the Bradley Hills and run them before the Crim? Especially if you are a first time Crim runner, scouting out the hills beforehand will help you to know what they are all about so they won’t be so intimidating on race day. Check out the Crim 10 Mile race map for directions.
In addition to your warm up and cool down, a good hill workout consists of about six repeats (up and down the hill is one). Like a speed workout you wouldn’t want to run hills all the time, so once a week should be sufficient, or even a few times in all before the Crim should really be all you need.
How to Run Hills
Running hills can increase your chance of calf and Achilles injuries, so be cautious and don’t attack the hill too aggressively.
When you get to the hill you will want to slow down a bit, take shorter strides, and make sure to keep your head up. Focus on good posture going up the hill, while leaning forward ever so slightly into the hill. Use your arms to your advantage.
During a race the sight of a good size hill can be daunting when you are exhausted, so don’t be afraid to walk a hill if needed. However, make sure you take advantage of running the downhill; since a hill punishes you on the way up make sure you pay it back on the way down!
On the way down take advantage of your momentum and let it carry you down – don’t put on the brakes. Increase your turnover with short strides, landing on your mid foot and not your heal. Relax your arms but keep them under control (you don’t want to look like a cartoon character with arms flapping all over the place). The key is to stay smooth and under control and let gravity do the rest.
By checking out the hills beforehand and a little training preparation you will be ready to show the Bradley Hills who is boss during the Crim!