The importance of hill training to runners

Why hills are good for your training

Hill training provides great variety to training sessions and can be used in developing running technique. Hill sessions are very specific sessions and take up little training time, so should be a definite part of any runner's training.

The importance of hill training to runners

The importance of hill training to runners

Hill training is not an easy option, and to make the most of any hill training you really need to attack the hills. Be prepared to attack the hill before you actually get to it so you are running faster than normal at the foot of the hill before you start to climb. Pump your arms and slightly shorten your stride whilst increasing your leg cadence. This action applies to any hill.

Hill training is important for runners. The only way to improve your hill running is by running on hills. Doing specific sessions on hills is a great way get a quality workout done in a relatively short period of time. Hills can be hard work but the benefits are enormous.

When starting out in hill running, you should not just throw yourself straight into it, but build up gradually. When running up and down hills, you will be using muscles that likely haven't been used in this way before. The rule is is to start steady and build up. When you finish the last repetition you should feel that you could do one more, if you had to.

Hill sessions are about running hard but in a controlled way. Your legs will probably feel more tired than usual the next day so compensate by running a little slower and letting your legs recover a bit.

Some suggested hill sessions

Warming up before all these sessions is essential.

Beginner runner

6 to 8 x 100m (approximately 110 yards) hills with slow walk back recovery. 
The hill should be a gentle one to start with but as you progress it should get steeper.

Intermediate runner

2 x (10 x 100 to 150m (or 110 to 165 yards) hills) with jog back recovery and 5 to 10 minutes of jogging between sets.

Advanced runner

Build up to this gradually as it's a hard one ... you have been warned! (The full session takes about two hours so be prepared) 3 x (8 x 100m (110 yards) + 4 x 200m (220 yards) + 8 x 100m (110 yards) hills) with jog back recovery between repetitions and 5 minutes jogging between sets.

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