Benefits of Hill Training

Hills, an enemy of the runner. Or could it be an ally?

Many of you may be training for this years Flying Pig Marathon, so hills may be something that is already on your mind. If you are new to running a hilly course, it is time to consider the benefits of adding hills to your training.

Let's talk about form. 

Running up hill will cause you to naturally lean forward into the hill. Some degree of forward lean will happen naturally, but bending too far forward at the waist will impede your hill running ability. This excessive forward lean can throw your center of gravity off balance, and inhibit your knee drive by shortening the hip flexors range of motion. When running up hill think about trying to stand tall, keep the chest up and fully extend the leg behind you.

Running down hill is quite the opposite. You may start to lean too far backwards, slowing yourself down. This will naturally force your foot strike to land more on the heel. Keeping yourself in more of a natural running form can help you reap the benefits of gravity speeding you up on the decline. Just be sure not to lean too far forward into the downhill, losing balance and control of your pace.

Running hills can boost your performance!

Running a hill or running the treadmill on an incline has many benefits. Increasing intensity, building speed, and adding strength training, to name a few. Hill climbs help in building up the muscles in the calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes, making your legs more powerful. This can also help to keep you free from injury. Strong legs are more prepared to take on the strain running can put on them. 

Running hills can boost mental toughness!

If you incorporate hill repeats or hilly training runs into your routine you may be giving yourself a mental boost as well. You will have the confidence going into a hilly race knowing that you can handle anything it throws at you. This is a great mental benefit that others may not have.

So whether your a beginner and simply add in a hilly route to your weekly runs or you're ready to take on some grueling hill repeats, consider the hills as an ally and see what you can get out of them!

See you on the road!

Kenzie Bruns