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How to master hill running – and why



If you are a regular runner who wants to improve your speed and endurance, you know that it is important to mix up your workouts. Sometimes that means short sprint sessions. Sometimes it means collecting miles in your legs with a long, easy run. And sometimes it means mountain training.

If you’re struggling to find the motivation to climb some hills – either on the treadmill or outdoors – Myprotein health and fitness expert Faye Reid has shared four benefits of incline training. Then we have three workouts by trainer Steve Halsall that have been rated at difficulty levels for different fitness levels so you can find one that will challenge you. Finally, there are top tips for hill training from Ieuan Thomas, Saucony UK Athlete and the British World Cup competitor.

Four advantages of mountain running

1
. It burns more calories

If your primary goal is to burn calories, find the closest slope. The extra effort compared to running on a flat surface means that you use up your body’s reserves much faster while strengthening your muscles

“More muscle fibers are used when running uphill than when running flat, which improves the strength in burning fat,” says Faye Reid.

2. It prevents frequent running injuries

Normal runners put a lot of pressure on their shins and knees, which often leads to persistent wobbling movements in these areas. Running uphill can help prevent these problems from worsening.

“Flat and downhill runs mean that your weight is shifted forward and has more influence on your shin than on the supporting calf muscles, quads, hamstrings and glutes that drive you uphill,” says Reid.

“The same goes for your joints – your knees feel more stressed on a flat or sloping surface than your back muscles.

“Uphill running is a perfect option for those who want to train their back muscles and avoid excessive stress on their shins and knees.”

3. It improves endurance

No flat run feels easier than the first flat run after a mountain session, and the overall endurance improvements you make will become apparent the next time you run.

“If you run uphill regularly, it’s comparatively easy for you to go back to your previous flat runs,” says Reid.

“As the incline requires more effort and your muscle fibers work, your overall stamina and shape will improve over time.”

4. It increases the speed

When you run both uphill and downhill, the muscles in your legs are strengthened. So if you feel the need for speed, you can get there by climbing.

“The additional training of your leg muscles helps to increase your walking speed,” says Reid. “The same goes for downhill running, where your quads are built. If it’s a personal best you’re training for, add intervals for mountain running to your routine. “

Hill training workouts

“Hill sessions are probably the most difficult sessions you do, and your heart rate increases very quickly,” said Steve Halsall. “In the advanced session, the exercises between runs will exhaust your energy systems in advance and allow you to transition to strength training.” Find a hill with a gradient of 8-10% (ie very steep) that you can run up to about 100 m, take a deep breath and move. We treated Level 2 as the default, but if it is too difficult, start at Level 1. Once you have mastered it, go to Level 3.

Hill Workout 1

Warm up Jog on level ground for five minutes, followed by lunges and bodyweight squats.

  1. Quickly go up and then back x3.
  2. Jump up and then go back x3.
  3. Jog up and then go back x3. Keep your steps short and swing your arms so that you can smoothly move up the hill.
  4. High knee jumps up and then goes back x3. Exaggerate your knee lift with every step as you swing your arms to aid the movement. This will help you get your legs through powerfully and efficiently when you walk on the level again.

Warm up Jog for five minutes and then do some static stretches, focusing on your quads, hamstrings, and calves.

Hill Workout 2

Warm up Jog on level ground for five minutes, followed by lunges and bodyweight squats, star jumps, and side lunges.

  1. Mountain sprints x10. The key to running uphill quickly is pumping your arms. Your legs will of course follow this powerful movement. Carry out the first repetition with 10% of your maximum perceived effort and then add 10% more effort with each repetition. Instead of walking, jog back to the start.
  2. High knee skips x10. Jump and jump up the hill, hold your knees up and push yourself with a powerful arm movement. Jog back to the start.
  3. Side mixing x10. Squat down, move diagonally forward, and step all the way up.

Warm up Jog for five minutes and then do some static stretches, focusing on your quads, hamstrings, and calves.

Hill Workout 3

Warm up Jog on level ground for five minutes, followed by lunges and bodyweight squats, star jumps, and side lunges. Then take 20 m quick, small steps on your toes to prepare your calves.

Divide your way up the hill into four equal points 25m apart and do the following exercises.

  1. Mountain sprints x10. Increase your speed after every 25 meter mark. Jog back to the start.
  2. Leg circulation and sprints x10. On each marker, do 30 reps with just one leg exercise – squats, lunges, squats, calf raises, or squats – then sprint to the next marker and do the next exercise. Jog back to the start.
  3. Descent sprints x10. Jog to the top of the hill and then run flat down. This will help your body learn to run faster.

Warm up Jog for five minutes and then do some static stretches, focusing on your quads, hamstrings, and calves.

Tips for mountain running

1. Choose a good hill

Go steep, but not too steep. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that anything above 9 ° (the maximum on most treadmills) is more efficient than running. And keep it short – intervals of ten to 30 seconds beat endless beating.

Why it works You recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers by approaching maximum intensity. So go at intervals that you can only keep for a short time to overload your muscles and make your nervous system burn.

2. Keep it quick

Resist the urge to slow down too much. “Maintain a fast leg rate,” says Ieuan Thomas. “Think about your contact with the ground and” jump “back from the ground as soon as possible after the contact.”

Why it works Your tendons naturally store some energy with every step. If you land on your heels or slow down, you only become less efficient and tired.

3. Resist the lean

You’ll want to contract like Rocky. Do not do it. “Fight the urge to lean too far forward,” says Thomas. “This reduces your freedom of movement and leads to a shorter step and less power output.” Instead, naturally incline towards the slope.

Why it works If you lean too much, you will bend at the waist, which will narrow your hip flexors and suck energy away. Keep a straight line between your legs, hips and shoulders.

4. Keep moving your arms

Mountain runs are a whole-body undertaking. “The faster your arms move, the faster your legs move,” says Thomas. “Use them to create more leg strength.”

Why it works The idea that our arms and legs are “neurocoupled” as a result of our four-legged development is speculative – however, studies show that arm swings work to generate electricity. Make it quieter for more efficiency in the apartments.

5. Watch the area

Even if you do not drive off-road, it is worth doing it in training. “If you are traveling off-road, make sure that the terrain is loose and uneven,” says Thomas. Look up and forward to see your next foot position instead of looking directly at the floor.

Why it works Offroading forces you to change gears and recruit balance, activate and condition stabilizer muscles that normally don’t get a glimpse of the road.

6. Enjoy the descents

“Avoid the temptation to sit back on the descents,” says Thomas. “It is a waste of energy. Increase your cadence and focus on sales instead of walking and braking. “In a 2008 study, anything steeper than 5.8% will destroy your shape.

Why it works Artificially increasing your cadence can train your neuromuscular system to work faster. Short speed boosts in the plane also work, but descents are better.


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