How hill running can help you run faster
How Hill repeats can help your Running
Every time you get invited for a marathon or race, the typical question that comes to mind is, “Is it hilly”? Sometimes, people back out from running upon finding out that the area is hilly. The truth of the matter is this: only those who have trained running on hills, can race on hills. Incorporating hill training into your training provides a huge benefit to your overall running performance. When you run on hills, you are allowing your body to adapt a new level.
The Physiology of Hill Running
• Aerobic capacity increases which allows you to use less oxygen in running longer distances.
• Running economy increases which enables you to use less oxygen in running at a faster speed.
• Stamina will increase allowing you to run farther at a given speed.
• Gluteals (buttock), gastrocnemius (upper calf), soleus (lower calf), quadriceps (front of thigh) muscles strengthen.
How It Helps You
• Stride length (from uphill running) and side frequency (from downhill running) improves.
• Ankle flexion increases which in turn enables you to “pop” off the ground quicker. This allows you to spend more time in the air and less time on the ground.
• Learning how to run relaxed.
For your hill course running, you can start on a hill that takes 30 to 60 seconds to climb and then progress to a longer hill which can take 2 to 3 minutes to reach the top. Running a short hill improves your sprint speed and anaerobic capacities, whereas running a long hill will improve your endurance and mental toughness! At the same time, you are improving your form on flat ground.
You can slowly improve the number of intervals according to your level of training. However, always maintain approximately 4 to 8 short hills or 3 to 4 long hills. Try to run-through the finish line at the top instead of stopping short. Catch your breath and just recover slowly back downhill. Before you start again, wait until your heart and breathing rate gets back to normal. Usually, it takes 2 to 3 minutes. When running downhill, be careful since the muscle tends to lengthen while it shortens. The muscle will act like playing a tug-of-war with itself.
Always remember that downhill running can put a lot of stress on your knees. Try not to pound the road when you’re on recovery. Running one hill workout every one to two weeks is enough. And don’t forget to stretch well before and after your workout.