So most runners hate hills. Especially runners in the Netherlands. Yes, there is a story behind that comment. I did a 10 KM while on exchange there and halfway through the course was faced with a very very very slight incline. In my periphery I noticed every single runner gradually slowed their pace to almost a walk. I was fairly shocked at the time, but can understand why now – they’d likely never done any hill training.
Hill training, especially at the outset, sucks. You feel as though your lungs will soon burst into flames, that your quads are quickly disintegrating, and that your inner champion has fallen asleep. It is not a pleasant experience.
Yet, there are reasons to do it (I promise).
1. Improves endurance
2. Allows for a maximal workout if you’re short on time (and who isn’t short on time?)
3. Evokes feelings of self-mastery and preparedness (you know you can kick the metaphorical ass of the next hill you tackle whether during practice or on race day)
4. Is both a cardiovascular and muscular challenge (thus, improves muscle strength)
5. Improves your body’s efficiency – you will expend less energy tackling the next hill
In case you’re wondering how you should look when chugging up an incline, check out this blog post found on Runner’s World. It provides an excellent breakdown for hill-running form.
On a personal note, I love hill training…now. It has made me a stronger runner overall, better able to deal with challenges on the course, and has had a noticeable impact on my cardiovascular capability.
The only potential downside? A stiff lower back. So be sure to engage in stretching post-run which includes lower back, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, hip flexors. As I have said before, stretching is imperative for long-term functionality and flexibility.
Happy hill training!