If you live in a landscape with braes, tors, and pikes, then you will not have much choice but to master the art and sport of hill running. Many people do not entertain the idea of running up or down hills because they think it requires much hard work. This is, of course, the bottom line of this workout.
Hill running is massive in its own right and gives you many benefits. Apart from your need for a good level of fitness, running uphill has four benefits that can help you: flexible hips, stronger push-off, better heart and lung exercise, and mental toughness.
More flexible hips
Stride length is one of the major factors in running speed. Simply put, the further each of your strides takes you, the lesser strides you have to take. This means you will run faster. When you run uphill, your knees are lifted higher. This increases hip flexibility and therefore stride length.
Another benefit of hill running is that you will have a stronger push-off. Running uphill forces your hip, leg, and foot muscles to contract in a coordinated way while supporting your full body weight. On uphill sections these muscles also contract more powerfully than they do in normal running because of the pressure to overcome gravity.
More power results, which then leads to faster and longer running strides. Regularly running uphill will also strengthen your ankles. This means you can push off the ground with more power with each stride, pushing you further forward with every stride.
Better heart and lung exercise
Hill running also brings about better heart and lung workout. As you push harder, your body will require more oxygen to burn energy. Your heart and lungs will also have to work hard to get sufficient amount of oxygen into your system. To maximize the benefit from hill running, do not go easy and try to push harder. It is so much like working out in the gym – in order to build stronger muscles you have to lift heavier weights.
Tougher mental condition
Aside from the physical benefits, hill running works great for your mind. Many runners are afraid of hills and avoid them as much as possible. But if you run uphill, you will have a mental edge over those who dread hills. When you are in a race and an uphill terrain is looming up ahead, you know that this is a great opportunity to pass some competitors, make up time, and kick-start your race.