A major part of my Team Over The Top (TOTT) run clinic is hill training. Most of you reading this are probably thinking ” ya, coach, I know all about how important it is to do hill repeats as part of my training. Tell me something I don’t know!” Ok – I WILL tell you something virtually ALL of you DON’T know: “you do NOT run up and down a hill repeatedly in order to DOMINATE a hill”. You do that THINKING this is how I get stronger and faster running hills in races and in longer training runs. Well, I happen to know that this is NOT how you get faster and stronger running hills.You get faster and stronger (AND REMAIN INJURY-FREE!) by doing a plethora of drills to lock in your pelvic girdle, square up your hips, keep your feet underneath you on the way up by flicking from the heels and go with gravity on the way downhill by lifting the knees slightly higher than normal. Once you can do all of this perfectly, you will not only run injury-free, you will DOMINATE any hill that you encounter whilst running or racing.
One of my pet peeves is seeing ‘runners’ go forward up and down, up and down at the same pace repetition after repetition – with REST breaks at the top! What the HELL is that all about???!!! In my TOTT world, REST breaks during hill training do NOT exist. We flow from drill to drill to lock in technique, build fatigue tolerance AND mental fortitude to go deep when others QUIT!
A few of my most effective drills are as follows: backwards up and downhillside to side crossovers up and downhill1-legged hopping up and downhillside to side shuffle up and downhillSumo Squat hops up and downhill (brutally difficult BUT the most effective at locking in the hips and keeping the body square when running hills ‘normally’).My runners will typically do drills such as those highlighted above along with numerous others during a 60 to 75 minute ‘take no prisoners’ session. We only run a hill ‘normally’ up and down after perfecting all of the focused drills. I call this “putting it all together” and the results are always ‘over the top’! Other runners are always amazed at how well my Team Over The Toppers not just run hills but DOMINATE hills.
If you are serious about getting better at running hills AND running injury-free, make the above drills a regular part of your running schedule. If you are NOT, that’s your loss!!