Elite coach Darren Smith focuses a lot on fine-tuning technique for all three sports with the high-level athletes on his “D-Squad.” He compares the adaptations you need to run well uphill to the ones you make going from swimming in a pool to open water: Start with body alignment and a strong paddle, then incorporate the specifics on top, like sighting efficiently, breathing to the other side every so often and shortening your stroke. When running uphill, Smith says, “layer good basic run mechanics—strong alignment, good core—with more arms and a little bit of lean into the hill. Start with fundamentals and add in the nice bits on top.”
Smith’s guidelines for tackling the longer hill
Incorporate some forward lean, which helps give you a bit of free energy.
Smith’s guidelines for tackling the short, punchy hill
Picture someone tapping the back of the elbows and push back into them, which actually helps with momentum forward.