The Complete Runner’s Guide to Hill Running – Everything YOU Need to Know

Jeff Baldelli
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What are the Benefits of Hill Running?

Heart Health – Hill running can strengthen the heart and lower blood pressure, helping it keep the blood flowing smoothly and improving lung function.

  • Hill running can strengthen the heart and lower blood pressure, helping it keep the blood flowing smoothly and improving lung function. Strong and Flexible Muscles – The gluteal and hamstring muscles are strengthened in addition to the hip flexors and quadriceps. This helps to reduce the amount of knee and hip injuries associated with running.
  • The gluteal and hamstring muscles are strengthened in addition to the hip flexors and quadriceps. This helps to reduce the amount of knee and hip injuries associated with running. Improves Coordination – You’ll notice that once your body gets used to the hills, you’ll be able to settle into the rhythm and maintain your regular speed.
  • You’ll notice that once your body gets used to the hills, you’ll be able to settle into the rhythm and maintain your regular speed. Stronger Core – As you ascend and descend the hills, your body needs to stabilize and adjust posture, keeping good posture is an important component of running form.

Some Great Tips for Running Uphill

If you are a runner, chances are you want to be in the best shape possible. Don’t worry; you are in good shape, but you can always improve and pushing yourself to the next level is always kind of nice, too!

Running uphill is one of the best ways to add that challenge to your physical activity. An added bonus of running uphill is that it will strengthen a number of muscles, including your calves and quadriceps as well as some muscles in your upper body like your arms, shoulders and back. Because running uphill uses a wide variety of muscles, you will also get a great full body workout.

Running uphill requires a different skill set then running on flat ground. On flat ground, we have gravity on our side, so all we have to do is use our leg muscles to push us forward. When you run uphill, there is suddenly a mysterious force working against you called gravity. Running uphill takes your leg muscles as far as they will go to complete the required motion.

If you want to run uphill, here are a few tips:

Be sure to keep your posture perfect. Don’t slouch! Stand up straight and keep your chin up. Not only will this help to keep you from getting a muscle cramp, but it will also help you maintain your form and run in a straight line.

What are Some Tips for Running Downhill?

Some Good Breathing Techniques for Hill Running

Hill running may be a famous way of training for elite runners, but conquering this training can be one of the difficulties when just starting running.

It requires more energy to run up a hill and one must constantly work harder. It does give more results in the long run though, which can be beneficial to both your muscles and cardiovascular system. So once you have mastered the art of running uphill, it can be used as a great way to intensify your normal workouts.

Here are some breathing techniques to help you conquer the hills:

Breathe in As You Step Up

The most important thing you can do to increase your speed while running uphill is by breathing in as you step up the incline. Try to do it as naturally as possible. This will allow you to take more deep and powerful breaths, which can help you for the duration of your time up the mountain.

Breathe Faster

During a run uphill, you want to focus on intense inhaling and exhaling but keep the pace steady. Fast breathing can help increase your blood flow, which can aid in easing your muscles and allowing you to push harder and faster.

Great Hill Running Workouts for YOU

One of the most overlooked pieces of training for any runner is hill running. It’s no question why … because runners train on flat land! Being able to run a flat course takes little skill or energy and thus is the only real form of training that many runners bother to learn.

The problem is that when you do that, you’re ignoring a valuable form of training that will help you in any race, even the most flat.

Here’s some hard facts:

Average 5K race is run on a slight down-slope.

Average 10K race is moderately down-slope.

Average Half-Marathon is moderately down sloping.

Average Marathon is moderately down sloping.

Average trail race is moderately up-slope … sometimes severely!

What About Mountain Races?

The reason for this is the fact that trail races imbed up and down-slope hills as part of the course.

That’s why a good way to improve your running is to learn to practice on hills. You’ll get better at running uphill and you’ll learn how to run downhill safer.

An added bonus is that, when you add in hill running, your speed and overall endurance will improve.

Workout #1 – Short Hill Sprints

In terms of general benefits, aerobic gains from stair and hill sprint workouts are comparable to flat sprint workouts. In fact, exactly the same muscles are used and the same energy systems are stimulated.

The difference lies in the point of performance. While flat sprinting aims to minimize ground contact time with the aim of maximizing the reliance of the body’s muscular system, stair/hill sprinting aims to maximise the amount of time each foot is in contact with the ground, using the body’s concentric muscular system and elastic energy system to increase running speeds and build muscle.

This leads to overall explosive power so that you can run faster uphill and on flat terrain. In simple terms, this system basically turns you into a human slingshot.

Workout #2 – Long Hill Up-Downs

This workout is a fast way to build the muscles and strength that you need in order to train for and participate in a race. To do this workout, find a good hill that takes about 50 seconds to climb. This workout takes about 15- to 20-minutes.

Start running up the hill at a pace that you can comfortably jog at.

When you reach the top, turn around immediately and pick up the pace to a light run as you go down.

At the bottom, do a few strides (approximately 10 meters at a fast pace) and turn around to begin the next climb.

Repeat this pattern for five repetitions, or until you complete five up-downs for a total workout time of 15- to 20-minutes. Make sure you cool down for the last five minutes to extend your workout routine to 25-minutes.

Workout #3 – Hill Bounding

Hill bounding is a highly effective running technique that utilizes the resistance of a hill to improve your strength and cardiovascular health.

It is most commonly used by track athletes and marathon runners to increase leg power and speed. It is also a great alternative for football and basketball players as well who avoid practicing and playing on hills.

Hill bounding involves sprinting with quick, choppy steps up a treadmill, staircase or hill. It is just like a run up a hill, except that you run for short periods of time. These quick, choppy steps develop the fast twitch muscle fibers that catalyze muscular strength and speed.

Running uphill uses entirely different leg muscles than running on flat land. With uphill running, the large force of gravity pulls downward on your body. In order to prevent your body from falling, you must engage various leg muscles that support and propel your actions.

In much the same way that muscle tissue becomes stronger with resistance training, your legs must gain speed and strength by working against the gravity of a hill.

To create greater resistance, uphill bounding is done with a heavier body weight than regular running. However, in order to have a safe and effective workout, you should limit the total weight carried.

The goal of hill bounding is to power up the hill with as much speed as possible. Yet while bounding up the hill, it is important not to overwork yourself simultaneously.

Workout #4 – Hill Pyramid

This workout is basically the same as the hill sprints workout, except this time you will have a rest day between each pyramid.

The idea of this workout is to increase your stamina and strength while running hills. It is also a great workout if you want to lose weight and burn off some fat. This workout will also help you develop your sprinting speed.

Run Four Minutes Uphill

Walk or jog back down the hill for one minute.

Then Run Three Minutes Uphill

Walk or jog back down the hill for one minute.

Repeat this build up for eight minutes.

After the eight-minute build-up, do eight minutes of hill sprints.

Walk or jog back down for one minute.

Then do eight minutes straight of hill sprints.

Walk or jog back down for one minute.

Finally, do eight minutes of hill sprints.

Walk or jog back down for one minute.

Here are workout number one through four where you will need to add an extra 20 seconds to each sprint and walk. Also, make sure that you are increasing the length of your sprints and walk.

<<<<<Workout One:<<<<<

Walk or jog back down the hill for one minute.

Workout #5 – Downhill Strides

Downhill running can help build and strengthen strength in your stride, particularly in your core. Add this weekly workout to your regular base training schedule to improve your speed, rotation and posture.

How To

Begin by jogging or walking downhill at a relatively slow pace, focusing on good running posture.

When you get to a place with four to five flights of stairs, or a long and steady hill, run up each flight of stairs. On each flight, focus on running downhill. Focus on your arm action: Run with momentum by swinging both arms forward and back, letting your wrists relax.

Tip: Let your body rotate naturally “ do not force your knees up.

Run easily back to the bottom of the hill and begin up again.

Repeat this process for six to eight flights (or sets) in one session.

The Science behind It

This workout will work your body as a whole. The hills are challenging, and your body will be forced to rotate to maintain balance. Forward and backward arm swinging action will help you run more efficiently and effectively, which will allow you to run faster. Rotating your body as you run helps you keep your running posture correct and will improve your overall form.

What About Running on an Incline Treadmill?

Running on an incline treadmill has a number of benefits over your average run. When running on a treadmill standing up, you are working both the upper and lower body.

Running on a treadmill is the same.

When running on an incline treadmill, you run on a moving belt, so you can adjust the speed and incline. I love to run on an incline because it changes things up. Incline treadmill work is balanced by a lower back (core). Studies have shown that cardio after strength training is the most effective way to burn fat. Incline treadmill running requires both strength training and cardio conditioning.

Summary

Hill running is a fantastic way to build stamina and even a little strength. But that’s not the only reason to get started with it.

When you run uphill, you burn more calories than you do when you run on a flat surface. This is because your muscles have to work harder.

One study looked at a group of 10 competitive teenage runners. The runners jogged at a constant rate on a treadmill while the incline increased every minute. The results showed that the increase in the incline speeded up the runners’ heart rates by an average of 8 beats per minute. This is great news.

This method of exercise will have the same effects on your body as other aerobic activities do. You can expect to see a reduction in your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and risk of heart disease.

As for the cardiovascular benefits, studies have shown that hilly running is just as effective if not more so than distance running in improving your cardiovascular fitness. So if running was the one thing you loved to do the most �C but you just couldn’t make yourself keep it up due to time constraints or injury … then you might want to give hill running a try.

Besides increasing your cardiovascular fitness level, hill running will allow your body to improve your lean muscle and bone mass.

The best part is that it all comes with minimum risk.