Inclination for Speed - Page 3
Ironically, the treadmill is many elite mountain runners' tool of choice for uphill training. It allows them to skip damaging downhills and train through icy winters. Start with 20 minutes a week at 10- to 15-percent grade. Add five to 10 minutes weekly, and, if you're up to it, work up to Gutierrez's non-stop 65 minutes at 15-percent grade.
Once a week, run up a 2000-foot climb just below your lactic-acid threshold to build efficiency and confidence. If you have no mountains nearby, run the stairs of a high-rise. Zac Freudenburg, who placed eighth last year at the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship, trains in a 45-story building in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
"Use lunges, squats and box jumps to strengthen the exterior hip muscles (gluteus maximus and hamstrings), which provide about 75 percent of your vertical power on hills," says Dr. Heiderscheit, who says the calf muscles produce horizontal thrust and support the mid-foot landing, adding, "If you aren't accustomed to landing on your toes, do calf raises for four to eight weeks to build the requisite strength."
Danny Dreyer, author of Chi Running and a renowned coach who integrates tai-chi principles into trail running, recommends turning your hips to the side to take the workload off your quads and hamstrings, and better engage your core muscles when going up steep inclines to avoid exhausting your legs.
Diagonal Feet. Facing uphill with your feet pointing at 12-o'clock, turn only your feet to 10-o'clock. Keep your feet at this angle as you run, slightly crossing your feet in front of each other.
Arm power. "The key is to engage your side (oblique) stomach muscles, by accentuating the motion of the downhill arm," says Dreyer. "Swing the arm strongly across your body and up to your chin, just like an upper cut."
Change Sides. After about six to 10 steps, switch sides by moving your feet to a two-o'clock position.