When I moved to Okinawa I was amazed and intimidated by the amount of hills I saw! I had just come from the flat trails of Jacksonville, NC and Virginia Beach, VA, and my prior training involved little to no hill work.
While training for the Marine Corps Marathon I ran the “hills” of Holcom Blvd and that is it. I put “hills” in quotation marks, because in Jacksonville, North Carolina they are called hills. In Okinawa they would be called mosquito bites. I breezed through the marathon training in NC and thought I was ready (despite my lack of hill training).
I was not ready for the first 3 miles of the Marine Corps Marathon to be continually up hill. My mind was not ready for the challenge and neither was my body. When I arrived in Okinawa with all of these hills around me I decided that my new double stroller and I were ready for the challenge.
I accepted the challenge to master the hills and went to work. Without even really trying my race times started dropping like crazy. The hills of Okinawa taught me an important lesson; that training plans NEED hills and speed work in order for you to be the best runner you can be. I was short-changing myself by avoiding hills in Lejeune without even realizing it. It IS possible to run hills –even with a double stroller! It just takes some motivation, practice, and time. With persistence everyone can run hills.
When running down hill:
Wear the safety strap
Buckle your kids in
Lean forward into the hill
Try to land lightly on your mid-foot
Enjoy the ride
Think, "let Gravity do the work," and focus on your breathing.
Running up hill:
Don't lose your form.
Keep your back up right.
Shorten your stride
Look right over the top of your stroller with your chin a little bit down.
Don't look to the top of the hill, and don't stare at your feet.
Use one hand to hold the stroller and the other hand to pump your arm. Two hands on the stroller is okay, too.
The arm holding the stroller should be bent (at whatever angle the hill is requiring) but the elbow of the hand holding the stroller should be down -almost on your hip (but don't dig it into your body).
If you follow the above form advice the weight of the stroller will rest on your body's skeletal frame, and the work of the hills will go exactly where we want it to go -to your legs.
Good Luck running hills. You CAN do it!
For those of you who are visual learners we've made a little video to talk about and demonstrate good and bad form. Enjoy!