I love incorporating hills into my workouts. In hill running you use body weight as a resistance to push against, so you develop serious leg power and your cardiovascular system becomes improved.
In a nutshell, hill training provides the following benefits:
- it helps develop power and muscle elasticity (the elasticity results from the bouncy effect of going up the hill)
- it develops coordination
- it develops control and stabilization as well as improved speed (downhill running)
- it promotes strength endurance
- it develops maximum speed and strength
- it improves lactate tolerance when you use medium or longer hills for repeats
I like to mix up my hill training by picking a running route that I know will add a mix of shorter, steeper sections and longer sections I like to call a “grind”. A “grind” is where you slowly wind your way up a long hill, not necessarily steep, but you definitely have to work your way to the top.
If you are not comfortable with incorporating multiple hills in your daily walk or run you can get the same benefit with one lone hill. I’m sure there’s one hill in your neighborhood that would work. Walk or do a warm up run to get to the base and start by running or walking briskly up the hill. At the top turn and jog or walk back down. Repeat this 3 or 4 times. Here are some form tips:
- keep your eyes looking at a spot in front of you about 2 feet ( do not look straight down or at the top of the hill)
- keep your shoulders, head and neck relaxed
- run lightly on the front half of your feet, think “bouncy”
- do not bound up the hill with large strides, take smaller steps as you power with your arms – think of yourself “pitter-pattering” up the hill
- if you are having trouble catching your breathe, slow down and take big, even breaths
Hill repeats are NOT supposed to be easy but don’t let the discomfort stop you from continuing.
The only way you get better and stronger is to keep doing them.
Now go run!