“With uphill running, ... you’re going to end up wanting to lean into that hill a little bit more and pick the feet up a little quicker,” Brian MacKenzie of CrossFit Endurance says. “It allows you to get up the hill much more efficiently, and it’ll allow for better turnover and much more efficient running.”
The first step is assessing the athlete’s capacity.
“What we want to do is focus on where they can handle the hill, how long they can handle it, and then gradually work on that,” he says.
Instead of driving off your feet and wasting your energy, MacKenzie advises the use of “little feet,” or short steps, to move up the hill efficiently.
For downhill running, MacKenzie says you want to keep your feet underneath you and lean back instead of slowing your descent by reaching out in front with your strides.
MacKenzie has Doug Katona of CrossFit Endurance and Rich Airey of CrossFit Counter Culture demonstrate uphill and downhill running technique. Then, he runs them through a drill with one partner running with eyes closed while the other acts as a guide.
“What tends to happen is people don’t really realize they’re actually going uphill. They just naturally will adjust to what happens with the hill,” he says.
MacKenzie discusses how to implement uphill and downhill training and how it will improve your performance and decrease your chance of injury.
Video by Again Faster.
Additional reading: The Basics of Pose Running Techniques by Brian MacKenzie, published Dec. 1, 2007.