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Running up hill

Are there any benefits to running up hill exercise workouts? Many people avoid running up hills because it is such hard work, but that of course, is the crux of the problem.

Hill running as a sport is massive in it's own right (separate from athletics - you may also have heard it called Fell Running or Extreme running) and has many benefits.

Is there a technique involved? As with any exercise, always warm up first, with at least ten minutes of easy running, then choose an incline that takes you from 1 to 4 minutes to run up. The longer the distance you are training for, the longer your repeats should be (and vice versa).

Apart from the need for a good basic level of fitness, running up hills has three benefits that can help any runner :

  • Mental Toughness :

    Many runners avoid hills, they dread them. But if you embrace them, guess what? When you're in a race and a climb looms up ahead, you know this is an opportunity to make up time, pass a few people, kick-start your race.

  • Stronger Push-Off :

    Performed regularly, this will strengthen your ankles. This means that you can push off the ground more powerfully with each stride, propelling you further forward with each stride.

  • Flexible Hips:

    Stride length is a key factor in running speed - quite simply, the further each stride takes you, the fewer strides you have to take, and the faster you'll run. When you run up an incline, you lift your knees higher, which increases hip flexibility and thus stride length.

Running up an incline requires a slightly different stride to normal - lean forward slightly, pump your arms, and aim to maintain a good pace all the way to the top. Slowly jog back down after each repeat. Start with a couple of repeats, and aim to add one per week to a maximum of 8 repeats.

This is a tough workout, so once a week is plenty.



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