Running is healthy but often we are tempted to settle for easy running. Many people often consider the terrain when deciding where to run. Most of these people avoid hilly areas and prefer flat routes that are easy to run. These people do not know that they are missing the benefits of running hills. What are these benefits?
Works on your speed safely
People use the track to boost their fitness level and speed. You can do this on a hilly area and it will be much safer. The overall speed that you will be using is slower and this protects the body from injuries that may occur due to trying to run too fast within a short time. Hill repeats are an ideal way of building fitness at the beginning of the training cycle. How do you do these hill runs? Use a short hill that is about 200m in length and has an elevation gain of 50-100 feet. For the warm up, run a mile then run 6 to 10 times up and down the hill. When going up, ensure the hips and glutes are the ones powering the body in running. When coming down, jog or walk. When through with the repeats run a mile to cool down.
If you assume the right posture when running a hill you will get stronger legs. What is the right posture? It should be like the one assumed by people running at top speed. Do not slump forward but rather be erect (not leaning forward), let the hips power you and propel you upwards and forward. Shorten the steps and keep your eyes on the hill’s crest. Your legs will grow strong and will not be wobbly when you are fatigued during a race. They will keep steering you to the finish line.
Readiness to handle any race course
Race courses tend to have mixed terrain with some hilly parts as well as flat ones. With hill training you will be able to handle any course. The rolling hills will not look like small mountains like they normally do in the people who do not run hills. With a high fitness level and strong legs you will be confident when you attend any race.
Running hills prepares you to be the best in the next race you will be participating in. When you approach a hill on the race day, mentally break it into three parts. Maintain the effort you have sustained in the entire race in the first third. In the next third, increase the effort though the pace may slow. Do not worry about the pace in this part and only concentrate on maintaining your effort. On the last third as you approach the crest, increase your effort. Run fast over the crest and you will be ahead of most people because they tend to slow down here. Keep this hard effort on the way down and until the course becomes flat. Using these tactics you will be able to run any incline in the course fast. If you have an upcoming race you should add running hills to your training and you will be happy with the results at the end of the race.