If you’re a runner, I’m sure you know the feeling of seeing a hill coming up on a run or a race and dreading the climb. Running uphill is definitely challenging, but if you train and prepare for it, you can learn how to tackle the hill properly. Whether you’re a runner training for a race or you just want to add a challenge to your workout routine, running hills has some awesome benefits!
Benefits of running uphill. The best benefit of running uphill is the fact that it is a great combination of building strength and improving your cardiovascular system. Going uphill your body has to work against gravity, providing a form of resistance training for your legs. Uphill running is also helpful in improving your running form. It forces you to run more on your midfoot or forefoot rather than heel striking. Midfoot or forefoot striking tend to be more efficient and cause less overuse injuries.
How to approach a hill. As you approach a hill on your run, don’t psych yourself out. Instead of thinking about how hard it’s going to be, think about how getting up this hill is going to be a great challenge that you can overcome. You want to shorten your stride a little bit and really focus on pushing off through the toes. Depending on how long the hill is, will depend on your pace. If it’s a fairly short hill, you can think about trying to increase your effort up the hill. If it’s a longer hill, you want to keep a steady pace. Your pace will slow down some compared to running on flat ground, so you want to think about using the same amount of effort going uphill as you would running on a flat surface. As you approach the top of the hill, run through the top of it. Keep that same effort, which will mean increasing your pace, once you get to the top of the hill back on flat ground.
Hills don’t have to be the enemy! Try these tips next time and crush those hills!