Running speed on gradients - go faster or slower?

Hi friendly and knowledgeable forum people -can i pi ck your brains, please? I have a few inclines on my route and just cannot manage to keep up the pace I can do on the flat or going downhill - the pace is pretty slow in the first place. Is is better to go very slow all the way round, or try to run a wee bit faster but then go slower on the uphill parts.

Many thanks for your help.

5 Replies

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  • Well, I'd avoid going faster up the slopes! ;)

    The usual advice seems to be to keep the same amount of effort (ie how puffed-out you feel!) all round - which means slower uphill, because of the energy needed to physically haul your body vertically up the slope. If you just take shorter steps, at about the same speed of stepping (ie steps per minute is the same, but I don't count them!) it doesn't feel significantly harder going up the slopes (well, maybe a bit, but it's manageable). On my parkrun, there's a 1 in 10 slope for about 80m, and those are very, very short steps!

    You might find you take longer steps going downhill - but I'd have to read up on that again - I don't worry too much about downhills, I just enjoy them!

    Then again, if you're specifically doing hill training, you might want to aim to go faster on the uphills! But only for very short bursts. It's fascinating reading about it anyway, if you've got time to google about, even if the aim is just to run a bit further and a bit faster.

  • What greeners said, really. My local circuit has a biiiig hill that takes me about 5 mins to run up, and there's absolutely no way I can manage my 'normal' pace up there. The bonus is that the last 10 mins are all downhill, and they're always quicker :)

  • Thank you RainbowC. I like the downhill bits best, as I can go a bit quicker and feel that I look more like a 'real' runner.

    Five minutes of running uphill - Urgh!

  • Greenlegs has got it spot on. Here in the Chilterns you would struggle to find any run of more than about 1k that was flat unless you stuck to a valley. I live at the top of a hill and can just about do 3k without any serious inclines. Many years ago when I ran much more the steeper inclines seemed easier if I shortened the stride and treated it more like steps, leaning forward annd running on the ball of my foot.

  • Thank you all for your advice - and apologies about the delayed acknowledgement as my internet has been down. I think that the advice about taking short steps and perhaps treating it like climbing upstairs may be useful - I'll certainly give it a try. As it happens, my last run was dead flat, along the promenade at the sea front, but with a strongish wind in my face, so I guess that wherever one runs there will be challenges to overcome.

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