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Why Running Hills Is Good Training

Two Reasons to Run Uphill and Three Tips to Get You to the Top

Hopefully you have hopped off the ol' treadmill now that it's Spring and are running in the great out-of-doors. A major challenge of taking your running to the streets is hills. Many runners avoid the incline, but here are some reasons why you shouldn't skip the hills and tricks for mastering the climb.

  1. Running hills works your upper leg muscles more than running on flat ground. It also targets the backside, strengthening and toning the booty and the hamstrings.
  2. Another selling point for running hills (if toning your fanny wasn't enough) is that the muscle groups you use to climb hills are virtually the same as those you use for sprinting, so hill work enhances your speed by building strength. In other words, the benefits of running uphill translate to running flats.
  3. If you haven't given up the treadmill, do note that each one percent increase in the elevation angle requires four percent more energy, so the incline forces you to work harder. Make the most of your time on the machine by pumping up the incline with this rolling hills workout for the treadmill.
  4. You should, however, be cautious about "hill work" if you have an injury in your calf or Achilles tendon since the running on inclines can aggravate these injuries. Even if you don't, you should still be sure to stretch these areas of your legs especially well after your workout.
  5. When running uphill, gaze up to where you're going and not at your feet. Looking forward helps you keep your head up to maintain good posture, making it easier to breathe — and trust me, you're going to need all the oxygen you can get.

Looking for tips on how to get down the other side of the hill? Check out: Learn to Love: Running Downhill.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Join The Conversation
Halfcrazed Halfcrazed 2 years
Squats, Lunges, Squats, Burpees, Squats, Hip-ups, Squats, and Pistol Squats! Did I mention squats? You want to run uphill without injuries. Strong gluteus = Happy runner!
cdawson65 cdawson65 2 years
I recently moved to Ithaca, New York and have had to learn how to run on hills. It is hard work, but certainly worth it. My fastest half marathon time improved greatly after incorporating a big hill into my regular runs. I have a couple of mental tricks to add to the list above--ways to trick myself into getting to the top. http://c-dawson.blogspot.com/2013/04/running-up-that-road-running-up-that.html
chakra_healer chakra_healer 8 years
I do uphill daily. My calves are fabulous, like carved out of stone! This, btw, has not made boot shopping easier. :-(
almostloli almostloli 8 years
on a treadmill i always set the incline to the max haha (then i get tired so easily.. hahahhaha)
Camarogirl67 Camarogirl67 8 years
I've been running uphill for a few weeks now (along with biking uphill - eek!). I moved a few months ago to my new home in the mountains, and wouldn't you know it but our street is one big hill up from our house. It goes for miles and miles. My legs are really firm, still waiting to lose the fat though. But you don't gain the weight overnight, so I guess you can't lose it overnight. Right?
ash_marisa ash_marisa 8 years
Walking on an incline is great on cardio machines as long as you don't hold on to the handles (kind of defeats the whole purpose)
Hollisterbabe01 Hollisterbabe01 8 years
I run uphill all the time becuz my neighborhood has a lot of hills!
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 8 years
I hope walking on an incline is GREAT too cause thats what I do....
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 8 years
I ran uphill and it kills my knees
ash_marisa ash_marisa 8 years
I always run intervals with hills! great workout and burns so many cals in a short time! But want to know what I hate? People who go on the treadmill, put the incline up to max 15%, then HOLD ON to the front for dear life and believe they are still getting a workout! You should never put the incline up higher than you can handle without holding on for deal life! One girl has been doing this for the past 4 months at my gym, and I have not noticed any results on her, but I obviously cannot say anything to her. So many people are just so misinformed today.
twinks twinks 8 years
Hey Fit! I just got back from my run and hopped on here while I hydrated. I wish I would have seen this before my run! I was runnin hills today and they SUCKED! It would have been nice to have this post in my head while truckin along. Oh well, I'll use it for motivation tomorrow! Thanks :-D.
JBlondie JBlondie 8 years
I love running hills! It makes my legs feel so strong. It's been so darn hot here for the past couple of months that I have not been able to run outside so I have been supplementing with the incline on the treadmill. Hopefully it will start to cool down some!!!
fashionhore fashionhore 8 years
I am not an avid runner-YET-but I do go for nightly walks and three times a week I run up each hill I come to during my usual route. It's great because I do feel tighter in the upper leg and butt area and it gives me a little calorie burn boost.
EllaBella EllaBella 8 years
I actually do run uphill on the treadmill twice a week with a program I printed out from fitSugar.com a while ago. I think it is really fun to do intervals by varying the inclination. I always find my 45min cardio go faster when I vary the inclination or speed as opposed to running at the same speed and inclination all the time. Give it a try it's fun!
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