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Hill Running Pays Off

Believe me, I know the feeling. Your cruising at a nice pace then you see a hill in the distance that you know is going to throw it off.

I know, but the hill doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

I have learned to look at hills as opportunities throughout my training. It did not start that way for sure! But experience has taught me that hills are how you get better.

How you say? Well, the benefits are many. Hills help to build leg strength, quicken your stride and even expand your stride length.

Hills also vastly increase your cardio capacity, boost your running economy and build your leg muscles to protect from soreness.

As runners, we have begun to incorporate strength training into our training plans. However there is no better run specific movement than running up a hill. It works your hips, legs , ankles and feet in a way you cannot do by doing isolated exercises for these parts. You work them all at the same time in a run specific motion running uphill. It also requires power, and in generating that power it leads to longer, faster strides as you overcome gravity.

Through research I have read, I've found out that runners who trained on hills have much higher concentrations of aerobic enzymes – the chemicals which allow your muscles to function at high intensity for long periods without fatigue. Heightened aerobic power in your quads gives you improved knee lift while running and also accelerates each leg forward more quickly as you run, which improves your speed. Those who run on hills have also been shown to be less likely to lose fitness when they take time off from training. And many scientists believe that hill training can improve the elasticity of muscles, tendons and ligaments, allowing these tissues to carry out more work with less effort and fatigue.

The benefits of running hills are so great that they should be seen as opportunities to attack them and reap the rewards!

On my next post, I will discuss the proper way to run up and down hills to remain strong. Until next time, remember WRKDNTSTP.

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