…always goes up a little bit more than originally anticipated. (If you’re local, and ever attempted to run up Pincents Lane, you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.)
Hills are hard to run up because we’re running against gravity and sometimes hard to run down because it can feel like gravity is going to win and dump us unceremoniously onto the floor. Nonetheless, rehearsing hill running has many benefits to all runners.
First of all, hill training is good for our cardiovascular fitness. Improving the efficiency of the heart and lungs allows blood around the body, transporting oxygen and nutrients to our muscles, carbon dioxide and other waste products away. People at the very beginning of their fitness journey can use hills or a flight of stairs to improve their fitness by walking up and down; running up and down hills should be left to those with a good base-level of fitness.
Secondly, running on hills can help develop muscular strength. The power required to propel the body up the hill, as well as forward in motion, puts extra pressure on the body’s muscular systems, necessarily improving strength. Engaging the abdominal muscles on the descent can also help runners to identify real purpose to developing these areas, since balance and coordination are required to descend safely at speed.
Finally*, running on hills is good for the soul! Runners have commented on the sense of achievement they have once they’ve completed a tough hill-training session. This link between hard running and positive feelings is not to be underestimated and runners are able to draw on this during race or time-trial events.
If you always find yourself having a little walk on a hill, or you’ve got a mental block on one of your usual routes, why not get in touch for some coaching?
* It’s not really finally: hill training has a whole host of other physical and psychological benefits!