Photo: James MacKeddie/Inov-8.com
Who better to share her tips for conquering that hill climb and technical descent than inov-8 ambassador and champion fell runner Jasmin Paris? Along with holding the record for the fastest completion of some of the UK’s hardest mountain rounds, such as the Bob Graham and Charlie Ramsay round, the 34-year-old fell runner was also crowned Extreme Skyrunning World Champion in 2016. In other words, she’s tackled some of the steepest ascents and downhills going.
From cadence and pace to trusting your feet on the descent, here are Jasmin’s quick tips for negotiating the ups and downs on your next run.
#1. Think small steps, high cadence
As you approach a hill imagine yourself lightly dancing upwards, skipping on the balls of your feet. Try to keep an even rhythm and, as the slope gets steeper, take smaller steps but keep your cadence high.
#2. Pace yourself uphill
Unless you’re doing a session of hill reps, don’t set off at a sprint. Many hills are runnable, but only if you pace yourself.
#3. Power walk steep sections
If you’re faced with a steep hill, don’t be afraid to walk. Often it’s the faster option, and it will conserve your energy for the runnable sections. Like many other hill runners, I tend to power walk steep climbs, using my arms to push off my quads. On a less technical trail, using poles will achieve the same effect.
#4. Practice transitioning from walking to running
Practice varying your pace, in particular the transition from walking to running as you reach the top of a climb, or as the gradient eases off.
#5. Embrace hill reps in training
Hill reps (a session of repeated hard efforts uphill) are a great training tool. Organise a group session with friends to motivate yourself.
#6. Look ahead on the descents
If you want to run fast downhill, you have to be planning where your feet are going to land in several metres time. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and will happen naturally if you look well ahead. You shouldn’t be looking at your feet!
#7. Relax on the downhill
Try to relax, and let go. Easier said than done I know, but if you start thinking too much you’ll stiffen up and slow down!
For more running tips and advice from inov-8 ambassadors, visit the inov-8 blog at www.inov-8.com/blog. You can follow Jasmin’s fell running training and racing via her website, www.jasminfellrunner.blogspot.com and via www.twitter.com/jasminkparis.