Independent from your own training goals and workout routines, running hills despite being widely perceived as challenging, may offer a perfect fit for meeting your training needs. Adding a hill run weekly or even bi-weekly to other speed workouts, tempo or VO2 max runs wield outstanding improvements in the long run. In particular, it can also prepare you for those scary hills in races that you may encounter when your energy levels are already reaching a low.
Increase your speed & become stronger
By running up hills you focus your workouts on muscles that are critical in sprinting, thus effectively improving your speed. Steep elevations provide resistance training for building your quads, calves and other supporting areas of your body – far beyond running on flat tracks would do for you. As a temporary effect, your upper body also benefits in the form of stronger arms needed for accelerating uphill.
Running form improvements
Hill running workouts represent a type of neuromuscular fitness that involves the interplay of brain and muscles. Tackling those hills increases your stride efficiency, length and resistance to fatigue in the face of physical strain. As a consequence, you easily cover longer distances with one stride while consuming less energy. Another observation in running form improvements refers to lifting the knee higher as compared to running on flat ground, also leading to a more evolved stride.
Many runners experience have uplifting experiences once they tackle their standard flat routes after having incorporated several hill runs in their workout routine. Suddenly they tackle distances more effortlessly. Running at your maximum activates the nervous system and also improves the maximal stroke volume of your heart, thus making it more efficient.
Running uphill once in a while can take away a lot of stress that usually impacts your body on flat ground such as your legs and shins. While long tempo runs may be beneficial to building aerobic fitness, the lack of other workouts being focused on your neuromuscular fitness may lead your body to weaken becoming susceptible to injury.
In particular when being a long time runner, always following the same running routine may become repetitive and boring. Adding a new type of workouts such as a hill run may increase your motivation and lead to a more enjoyable running experience at the end of the day.
Overall, hill runs are a great way to improve your general running abilities and keep your body strong and healthy in the long run. What are your thoughts regarding hill workouts?