Hill Training

In addition to developing good strength in the legs, hill training also strengthens you mentally. It is difficult and challenging at first but also gives a great sense of achievement when done.

There are two ways to strengthen the legs:

  • Weight training
  • Training on the hills
Some experts suggest that training on the hills builds up the muscles of the lower legs better than strength training. It strengthens the lower body including glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings and calves. Running on the hills is ideally started after you have been running for at least a few weeks into your training program.

Hill Running
Hill running competition: Start line

Hill running should be limited to once a week. Running on the hill requires the muscles to work harder than running on a flat surface, so it is important to do a light warm-up and stretch before starting the hill run. Build strength and add a degree of difficulty with each hill run by doing one or more of the following:

  • Increasing the runs and decreasing the walks
  • Increasing the total distance to be run
  • Increasing the grade of the hill
As you get more advanced, you may consider indulging in trail running shoes for hill training. These are an option and not required for beginners.

The first hill run is just to get acquainted with the hill, so it should have more walking and less running. As you build strength each week, decrease the walks and increase the runs.

Select a nice hill with a low grade initially and build up to moderate and higher grade. The hill workout should have hills with varying degrees of difficulty and it should have flat terrains in between where you can run with ease.

Initially when you start, walk the hill and select a small distance. With each week, you will build strength and you can increase the degree of difficulty by adding more distance, going to hills with higher grades and increasing the speed, though not all at the same time.

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