Hill Training- what goes up, must come down

It’s Just a Hill…Get Over It!


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


Uphill running: It’s better to take super short, quick steps running up hill rather than taking long, powering strides. “Powering up” the hill with long strides will most likely leave you breathless and is not necessarily efficient or fast.


Quick uphill tips:

*Shorten your stride (take shorter steps)

*Increase your cadence (take quicker steps)

*Lean into the hill – but DON’T bend at the waist. Think about standing tall. Keep 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. (The back leg should be nice and long and straight with each step up).

*Keep elbows bent at 90degree 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!




Downhill running: This is the fun part..free energy!!! Take advantage of the “free” increase in running speed. When traveling downhill, gravity is your friend. You can control your speed with your body. If you want to run faster, lean forward (into the downhill) from your hips- not your head or trunk. If you want to slow down, run more upright. Your feet will always want to land under your center of gravity- your lean will define where your center of gravity is. You will notice that when you lean forward into the downhill, you will need to take much quicker, shorter steps to maintain control. Keep your feet moving fast and continue to lift with your hip flexor (lift up your knees, keep knees bent and land SOFTLY).


Quick downhill tips:

*Look downhill, but not at your feet.

*Don’t over-stride; keep your steps short and quick.

*Avoid landing on your heels first. When you land on your heels, you are “putting on the brakes” and wasting energy. You are also sending too much impact through your joints. Use your muscles to run, not your joints.

*Keep your knees soft and bent (think of you knees like shock absorbers on a mountain bike)

*Land softly with your full foot. Avoid “stabbing” your toes into the ends of your shoes. Just lift your foot and land. Let gravity assist you in your momentum.

*Use your arms for balance. Don’t worry about the forward/backward swing needed in running uphill.

*Engage your core! Think of your abs, rear end, and back as a stable base. Allow your arms and legs to do what they need to do.
Reading about hill running may make technique sound complicated, but with a little demonstration and practice, it makes sense and can be quite fun!


Hill training can build incredible strength and speed that overflows into flat land running. The key is to be smart and not to do much too soon.


JOIN us for HILL TRAINING! Meet at Fit TRI Run at 6pm on Mondays.


PUT IT TO GOOD USE! Register for the Galveston Daily News Press run! They offer a 5K and 10K- and for kids, they have a 1K! It’s a great event and a lots of fun! And just remember that the Causeway is just a hill…. so get over it! (Literally. On Sept 12th) Find out more and register here: http://www.galvnews.com/pressrun/

2015-16 Marathon training season officially begins Saturday, July 11th!

Have you signed up yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

We welcome persons of all paces- including walkers, runners and run/walkers!

Sign up here:

New members= $140.

Returning members = $110.

(this is for training season that extends from July 2015- February 2016)


In the meantime, be sure to join us on Saturday mornings at 6am for a social run or walk!

JOIN US for Saturday morning training runs/ walks

Join us on Saturday mornings at 6am for a social run or walk. All paces are welcome. This is in preparation for our marathon training season (officially beginning on July 11th with 4 miles for both the half and full marathoners).

Look for registration to open in the next couple of weeks!

End of Spring Training party!

Whether you were able to complete the program or not, you are still part of this group! Join us Wednesday, June 10th, for a social event to celebrate fitness and friendship!! We’ll meet at the Longboard Pool Bar @ 1702 Seawall. come after work or get there by 6pm. Bring your friends/ loved ones!
CONGRATULATIONS on a great season!!

Spring Training perspective from a former beginner

This is a blog by Cat Nowinski.

Cat is now assisting with coaching the 0-5K group.

Spring Training 2015 started on Monday March 2nd. I did my first spring training 4 years ago in 2012 and although I had been “running” I really had no clue what I was doing. I had only started a few months back on a treadmill at a gym in the middle of the night so no one would see me. I really thought all running included was to put on sneakers and go and run. I was doing the couch to 5K program which was a tough, literally my first day of it I lasted 30 seconds but something in me clicked and I fell in love with the sport. Though I was running I still felt lost because there was so much to learn and I still felt like an outsider to a sport that I so wanted to fit in to. So I joined the USA Fit Galveston Spring Training program. I was so nervous showing up there. I knew nothing about what to wear, whether I was wearing the right shoes, or if I was even running “right”. When they started talking about form I was lost…”there’s a form to running, who knew?” Since I had already completed one 5K (literally one which some may not even call “running”, I was hooked) and a half (by the grace of god I finished that half but still didn’t think it gave me credibility as a runner) I was placed in the 5-10K group. I fought that to be in the beginner group but Kim, the coach and organizer, refused to let me; I think she saw my potential way before I even saw it. So I joined a group of seasoned runners and was even more terrified and felt more out of place. After all I was now in a group of people who could complete a 5K and I had barely made it through one. Luckily, the first day they have you introduce yourself to someone you don’t know, which was pretty much everyone, and I immediately met people so I was starting to feel a little more comfortable.

Then the workouts began. First we did a time trial, which was the longest 2 miles, remember, I had only run 3 straight miles once in my life, but I finished and hoped to see any improvement by the end of this program. The biggest, most important thing with this program is to trust in the program and trust the coaches. They are there to help you and make you as successful as you can be, not compared to anyone else there, just compared to you from start to finish of the program. So I committed 100% and showed up every week, twice a week not missing a single session. I struggled through many, well let’s be honest, all of the workouts, but along the way I noticed my body was not failing me it was getting stronger. There were many workouts I wasn’t able to complete just because of time, which drove me crazy because others would be done and recovering and I’d still be out there on the track trying to get it done but I always got encouraging support from everyone, coaches and other members. So on days off I would go back and repeat the workout to know I could do it. Despite the workouts being hard for me, I always had fun and kept coming back. I was also proud that of what I was able to accomplish each session.

By the end of the 14 weeks I was actually sad to see the program ending and when we did our final time trial, again I was the last one in but I took almost 2 minutes of my minute mile so I knew that this was a success…and only the beginning. After my 3rd year my timed mile was minutes faster! The people I met in that program were not only just other participants, they soon became good friends and I never realized how strong the running community is. Despite always being last that first year, I always had others cheering me on and encouraging me because they knew I was doing the best I could. I have now completed 3 Spring Training programs and am no longer in the back, somewhere in the middle but no matter what, there will always be faster runners, and that’s ok, b/c the only one I need to compete with is me. I learned a lot about form, nutrition, preparing for races, but the most important thing I learned in all of those programs is that running gives you what you put in to it. If you give it 100% then you will definitely see results. And with amazing support and knowledge from the coaches who run the program there is no way that you could fail unless you give up on yourself, which they will not let you do. If you feel like you’re struggling, tell them. If you are lost on something, talk to them. They are a wealth of knowledge that will turn a sport in to more than that, it becomes a community, a family. They are there to help you succeed. And there is no way you will fail is unless you don’t try.

Cat Nowinski

Plan for this weekend:

ROUTE & WATER STATION INFO…This weekend, we’ll head WEST on the Seawall.
WATER stop at Holiday Inn

Shiner & Holiday Half marathons=5mi
SA Rock & Roll Half =4mi
Santa Hustle Half =3mi
Galveston Half=2-3mi
USA FIT Half=2-3mi
Galveston Full=5mi
USA FIT Full=5mi
SA FULL marathon=12mi
Houston FULL marathon= 7mi

If you know someone who is interested in joining us, encourage them to start this weekend! We don’t want to intimidate new people with distances, but we will accommodate “newbies” for a couple more weeks.

BIG REMINDER!!! Today is the last day to register online! PLEASE- if you have not already done so in person, please register online (home page) today.


Hope You Can Join Us

Welcome to USA FIT Galveston. We’d love to have you join us for our 2013 season. Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on our program, and don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook.