Here are my top ten tips to running faster at The Hillary.
1. Before you start running, get all of the joints moving and the muscles activated from the tips of your toes to your hips. Walk around on the different aspects of the feet. Squat with your heels on the ground so arse is near the grass. Kneel onto your heels, and sit cross-legged. A simple and fast way to get your body to recognise that the ground will be uneven and to react to it.
2. Start with a proud, yet relaxed upright starting position. Move from your lower body whilst keeping everything from hips to head tacked on top of each other.
4. You should aim for a high and constant stride frequency (cadence). Count the number of steps you take on one leg in a minute. The goal over time should be to aim for 85-95 strides per leg per minute. This should be constant on uneven terrain, up and down hills, and on the flat. This should not happen at the expense of lifting your heels off the ground.
5. Focus on maintaining a proud running position with head up, shoulders back, and arms turned out. This is particularly relevant towards the end of a run when people tend to revert to a hunched position.
6. When going uphill, keep running for as long as you can maintain posture and cadence. When you can't, it is ok to walk. But walk in the same upright position with a short stride and a high cadence, this will allow you to seamlessly begin running again once you have caught your breath.
7. Maintain your cadence and slalom your way down the hills in order to maintain control. Having control will allow you to let go of the handbrake, as well as reduce the loading on your muscles.
8. Always look for the Line of Least Resistance. Keep your head high and look for the obstacles coming up. Always be thinking ‘do I have to go up the stairs or could I run beside them on a smoother track’, ‘do I go over the fallen tree where everyone else has or side step it staying low to the ground’? You're not a sheep, so you don't always have to follow the flock.
9. Eroded parts of a trail will offer the most grip. Erosion happens with gravity, so when in doubt 'stay low'.
10. Use your hands as an extension of your legs. Grab on to trees or obstacles to give support. You’ll have better control meaning you can go faster.
11. When all else fails, smile, and admire the smell, taste, feel and view.
If you enjoyed these tips, you will definitely enjoy the Conquer The Hillary Webinar on February 8.