Trail uphill hiking technique

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by sloutre, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. sloutre

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    Hi,

    I signed up for another trail run next month and I want advice form the experts. When I run trails I frequently end up walking most of the uphills. I'm fine with the idea of walking, I'm usually not in a hurry, but I feel highly inefficient. Everybody passes me AND it doesn't feel much less tiring than running.

    What is a proper efficient uphill hiking technique? For longer distances is it helpful to carry a (pair of?) hiking stick?
    Ideally I should just find hills around here and do more hill training, it cannot hurt, but the logistics are not easy since I don't have hills nearby and don't have time to drive 1h to/from my run.

    So far my trail experience is limited to 10~13 miles distance and I'm signed up for a 26 run/hike but can decide the morning of the race to do only the 10M if I feel under-trained.
    http://ironmasterschallenge.com/Page_2.html
     

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  2. NickW

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    One technique I've found that really helped me (I used to be absolutely terrible at hills) was was to quit leaning forward when going uphill. This is opposite of what people have told me my whole life. It was amazing how much easier hills became just from that one slight technique change. Now I am almost completely straight up and down just the same as if I was on flat ground. The second thing I do is I keep my cadence the exact same. The part that I change is the length of my stride. I shorten it just a touch which seems to make it easier to go uphill as well. If you have even a very short hill near you it may be to your benefit to do repeats up and down it, even if you have to go up and down 50 times to get your mileage in. Doing the repeats will help train your body on how to be efficient while going uphill. I try to do hill repeats once a week. I'm not a fast runner, but I am now a better hill runner than I was and am actually able to increase my pace on hills now and I look forward to hills because I know I won't slow down like others do.
     
  3. jldeleon

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    I'm no expert, but I have discovered that super deep knee bends with a super short stride allows me to keep going without dying. I never thought about it before, but I don't lean forward much either. The deeper the knee bending the less likely you are to lean forward. So lunges would probably be a good idea if you can't get to an actual hill, or lunges holding on to medicine balls, etc. And knee lifts, too -maybe resisting against a band, or place a medicine ball on the top of your knee as you lift it.
     

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  4. ElyDave

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    definitely shorten the stride when you go uphill.

    If you think how much extra effort is required if you take your normal or longer stride length as you slow to a walk and try and lever yourself upwards against gravity vs keeping a short high cadence pattern
     
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  5. Ahcuah

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    Reinforcing what others have said: keep your cadence constant! Even if that means that you only advance an inch at a step.
     
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  6. JosephTree

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    ...also, don't worry too much if a hill gets too much to run. It's all part of the show, and you just do the best you can. Some hills...well, some hills are too hard and are better to run down at speed. I believe that I can get better at the whole trail business, but at my age, 55, I'm never going to get as good as those greyhound/goats that run up as fast as I can run on flats. Oye! BUT, as my BF technique improves, I find I can get more grace and speed together on the downhills than most shodders, and pass many of those who passed me going up. Deep knee bend, lunges, 100 ups, all good.

    ..and good to see you on the board again, Sloutre, cher!
     
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  7. BFwillie_g

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    something additional to try when running uphill would be to sink extra low into the knees, keep the legs as relaxed as possible and focus on working with the hip flexors/gluteous as much as possible, likewise resist the temptation to run from the calves/feet/ankles. If you get it to work, it'll feel sort of like you're 'flinging' your limp legs at the ground (hope the comparison helps) and you'll really feel more relaxed than otherwise.

    If you can't gert it to work, you'll just get tired and feel like a dork. But regardless, no harm done and it's always worth trying new ideas.

    You shouldn't need walking sticks for anything. But on longer climbs, certainly walk. It pays to practice walking uphills, too. It's not that easy.
     

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  8. jldeleon

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    Yeah, "flinging your limp legs at the ground" -that's a pretty good way of describing it. You can actually practice doing that on pavement, flat trails, or slight declines first, too. I've done the "flinging" while running around the waterfront in my town, along with super deep knee-bends, and I felt like a tard but it was very useful practice. The first couple times I tried it on a steep hill, I pretty much thought I was going to fall on my butt, but lo and behold, my legs muscles actually sprung me back up! Whatya know!
     

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  9. sloutre

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    Thanks everybody. I'm starting the lunges, legs lifts, etc.
    I will try the "flinging your limp legs at the ground" and keep my cadence constant.
    Joseph, I hope one of these days I'll see you flying downhill on a PA or NJ trail. I love downhills too!
     

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  10. JosephTree

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    Sloutre, I've got road races scheduled for the next 9 weeks (10 , 13.1, 26.2 miles) then I have some cool trail runs lined up in June, July and August. I just saw the flier for something called the "Raptor Run" at Marsh Creek Lake, which is a 5 and/or 10 miler, on July 29th, billed as shady through most of it's course. It's being run late in July, I believe. Maybe I could entice a few BRS folks to try it.
     
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  11. rickwhitelaw

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    Lots of good advice. Look up Chi running, uphill techniques. He uses a side step (hard to explain) and arm swing that really works well. I would also advise upright posture and small strides, helps to regulate your breathing.
     
  12. jswan2011

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    what race are you signed up for ? I am interested in runing some trail runs bare.
     
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  13. LavaRunner

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    I seem to remember Jason talking about how Power walking/hiking really helped him in Western States.
    Walking / hiking uses a different set of muscles than running so if you know you are doing hills and will be walking some, it pays to practice and get those muscles in shape.
    Find some really steep long hills and power walk them to get your body in shape.
     
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  14. BFwillie_g

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    geesh.... three times in a row, I read "help him win Western States". I actually took my glasses off and cleaned them on my shirt, like some dorky sitcom Dad :confused:
     

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  15. Barefoot TJ

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    Yes, we would have to clean our glasses if that were the case, wouldn't we? Hee.
     
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