One of the main problems runners experience in the race, especially if the course is hilly, is fatigue at the three-quarter point. This is a result of increased burning of lactate acid and fatigue in the muscle tissue from running the hills too hard too early in the race, often creating more damage to race performance.

It is best to run faster on the hills later in the race rather than early. For many years, it was thought that you should run up the hill hard and come down slower. But you can increase your running speed on downhills without building up lactic acid as the oxygen consumption to the muscle will actually decrease on the downhills.

The actual workout should be at a race pace once per week for about five to six hills to start, then increase two or three hills per week. A good downhill running style is getting up on the balls of your feet, which will dissipate stress away from your body; whereas, landing on your heels will create trauma and possibly injury, as well as loss in time.

Always give your body proper recovery whether it is a training session or a race.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a sports podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery, He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Dr. Weiss is a veteran of 35 marathons, has a practice in Darien and resides in Westport.