4th annual Press Run

Runners cross the Galveston Causeway on Saturday Sept. 12, 2015, for the 4th annual Galveston County Daily News Press Run.

For us flat-landers, the thought of running or walking up a hill as big and steep as the Galveston Causeway can be a little intimidating. But think of the views from the top! How awesome is it to have a pelican-eye view of Galveston Bay?

As with any sport, using proper form is important when running hills. Whether you are running uphill or downhill, maintaining good running form is essential for improved speed, efficiency and reducing excessive pounding, which could lead to injury over time.

Here are ten tips to help you run uphill:

• Shorten your stride (take shorter steps).

• Increase your cadence (take quicker steps).

• Lean into the hill, but DO NOT bend at the waist. Think about standing tall and keeping your back straight.

• Ideally, you will land mid-foot/forefoot. Don’t stay on your toes; allow the heel to drop down to the ground with each step before you push off through your big toe. There is stored energy in the heel — when you allow your heel to fully drop, you can tap into some of this free, stored energy that will help your forward momentum.

• Drive from the hips — focus on using your hip muscles to lift your knee while you are pushing off the back leg. (Your back leg should be nice and long and straight with each step up).

• Keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and drive your elbow back behind you with each step (right elbow back, left hip flexed forward, and vice versa).

• Keep your shoulders out of your ears (stay relaxed in the shoulders)

• Keep your neck long; look a few feet ahead of you.

• Engage your core.

• Breathe!

As you may be thinking, making it uphill means half the battle is won — now it’s time to make it down. Next time, I’ll share several tips to properly running downhill.

Register now for the 5th annual Press Run taking place on September 10.

Kimberly Bachmeier is the owner of Fit TRI Run, an organizer for USA FIT Galveston, fitness instructor and former occupational therapist.

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