Though most of us will never run this race (it's a 400 meter race in Europe - check out the video) and will never run a hill this intense - running hills are an awesome way to get your cardio in and work muscles that you may not normally use!! Plus the being outside and the feel of looking down once you've made it to the top is amazing!!!
We know that the uphill is the killer - you're sweating like crazy, you're grasping for every breath and you're legs are saying " what the hell are you doing" And the downhill is a piece of cake - easier than running on flat ground!!! But ever hear the saying - " no pain no gain"??
Well the bad news for our bodies and our minds - the up hill is the safest and most beneficial, while the down hill is not only a risk but a great strain to our body.
I know - what's up with that?? Well here's the deal!!
When we run down hill we’re going outside the pace of our control, we’re leaning our weight forward to balance ourselves, our knees are trying to compensate by taking the shock of our firm footfall and we’re not using muscle strength, more so we’re using the momentum of the downhill slope.
When we run up hill we’re in control of our speed, we can easily slow down or push ourselves. We’re still leaning our weight forward, but on an up hill slope it aids as a benefit to our running technique and acts as a balancing stabiliser. Also most importantly, our knees are not taking as great of a shock because we are engaging our muscles to push us forward! Thus, running up hill is also going to be the better workout!
The best way to utilize up hill and down hill running is to run up hill and walk down hill. The walk will give you time to recover, ensures your safety, while giving you a moment to be mindful of your body and breath. The accomplishment and workout of running up hill, is also going to feel so much better than the free-falling of running down hill.