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ultra runner and personal trainer kerry sutton gives tips on how to conquer the hills

The Nepal Impact Marathon will inevitably involve hills so your training must reflect this. However, don’t despair if you don’t live in the Lake District, Wales or Scotland; there is many a runner who lives in a flat area who has run, and even gone on to win, a hilly marathon. The key is using a treadmill and a stepper to your advantage. There are many good hill sessions you can do on both of these machines to prepare your legs for a hilly run. Running downhill is very tough on your quads and knees so strength training including things like squats and lunges can help here.


So what does training to run hills look like?

Set some time aside in your normal running routine to focus on hills.

After a good warm up, do repeats on hills with the run down as recovery (run flat if you are using a treadmill). You can choose to do long uphill runs of around 5 minutes or more and shorter, faster ones of 30 seconds. 

These types of sessions have the benefit of improving leg strength, quickening your stride, developing your cardiovascular system and enhancing your running economy. They will also help you feel strong when faced with the hills in Nepal.


How to tackle the hills with confidence:

Many people dread hills. Training on them and developing mental strategies to overcome this fear work well. There are lots of ways to mentally get yourself up the hill: imagine you are attached to the runner ahead of you by an elastic bunny and they are pulling you along. My personal favourites is to use the counting trick: at the bottom I set a number of steps I think it will take me to get to the top and I count in 10s until I either make it or I have to reset my goal. Again, I keep my head down until I have counted out the set number, I am usually at the top or just short of the top when I look up and a short concerted effort gets me over the crest.

Read more about the benefits of hill training and strategies for taking on those peaks on Kerry's website