Endurance training is an important component to any training programme.
Without the strength in your legs, there will be a very limited ability
to sustain leg speed. Most runners are obsessed with either running
long distances or running high intensity workouts, miss out the
strength specific training that is supposed to sit in the middle of the
are your friends. They make you stronger. It is a form of resistance
training that builds up the muscles in your calves, quads, hamstrings,
and glutes. Hill running strengthens those areas more than running on
flat ground. You'll also strengthen your hip flexors and Achilles
The muscles you'll use to run up hills are the same ones used for sprinting, so the strength you build will improve your speed.
Basic hill technique
Don't start thinking that you want to attack the hill. The key to
running hills properly is to maintain your effort level (which
translates into a slower pace on the uphill), so you don't waste energy
and end up out of breath at the top of the hill (that's a common
mistake among runners).
As you approach an uphill, make sure you have good running form. Your
arms should be at a 90 degree angle and should be moving forward and
back (rotating at the shoulder), not side to side.
3. Your back should be straight and erect. You can lean in very slightly from the hips, but make sure you're not hunched over.
Concentrate on swinging your arms lower and shorter. By keeping your
arm swing lower and quicker, your legs will stay lower to the ground --
resulting in a short, quick stride.
As you reach the top of the hill, you can begin your normal stride
again. If you ran the hill properly, you'll be able pass runners who
wasted too much energy on the hill.
The best way to run downhill is to lean forward slightly and take
short, quick strides. Don't lean back and try to brake yourself. Try to
keep your shoulders just slightly in front of you and your hips under
you. Although it's tempting to overstride, avoid taking huge leaping
steps to reduce the pounding on your legs.
Hill training offers the following benefits:
- Helps develop power and muscle elasticity
- Improves stride frequency and length
- Develops co-ordination, encouraging the proper use of arm action during the driving phase and feet in the support phase
- Develops control and stabilisation as well as improved speed (downhill running)
- Promotes strength endurance
- Maximum speed and strength (short hills)
- Improves lactate tolerance (mixed hills)
Various Types of Hill Training
hills is like doing speedwork, in effort if not in outright speed. It
is hard on your body, so don't do more than one of the following
sessions per week.
- Hill Intervals
- Hill Repeats
- Hard Hills
- Indoor Hills
- Group Hills
- Downhill Hills
Christine Luff, Warren Finke - TEAM OREGON, Runners World - Hill Training