The hills are alive with sound of heavy breathing…. Wait, that’s not how the song goes? Our bad. We swear those are the words, because let’s face it, running hills takes our breath away (although it doesn’t have to, when done properly).
Yes, running hills or doing hill repeats as part of your weekly training regime can add intensity to your work-out plan, but where there’s intensity, there are rewards. For starters, hill running helps tone your booty, calves, hamstrings and quads (prepare for leg-baring shorts season!). By strengthening these muscles (which happen to be the same muscles used to sprint) you will actually be working to increase your speed on flat land too. Stronger muscles = faster running!
Here are some quick ideas for tackling hill running:
- Increase your cadence. When running uphill, make sure you take quicker steps to help propel you UP the hill without sacrificing your pace.
- Keep your gaze uphill. Your heart rate is likely to increase due to the heightened resistance the hills put on your muscles. Make sure your airway is in proper alignment to get the most oxygen by avoiding looking down at the hill or your feet.
- Lean slightly forward, into the hill. Don’t add more resistance by leaning back. Lean forward from your hips to support your climb.
- Mimic hill running on a treadmill. Don’t have hills to run on? Using the incline feature of a treadmill to create a hill workout is easy. Remember, for each one percent incline on the treadmill, you’ll use four percent more energy.
Though hill running can be used as part of your normal routine, it is critical when you are planning to run a race that features hills. Check out the elevation chart and course map of your race in order to plan training hill runs and prep your legs for the challenge. Women’s Running promises- your legs will thank you post race!
What tricks do you use to power up the hills?