Hill Workouts, how can they really help?

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Hill Workouts, how can they really help?

Hill training, Edgers know it is the worst-kept secret in running: If you want to improve strength and speed, run hills.

Running hills will develop the leg muscles – particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles – which ultimately get your body ready for the intensity of speed training . As you strengthen your calf muscles your body becomes better adapted to supporting your weight more forward on you your feet and takes advantage of the natural lever mechanism in your ankle. Running up hills forces the knees to lift higher, one of the most desirable developments for any runner, because this governs stride speed and length. Developing this leads to more efficient running and less injuries due to fatigue or over worked muscles.

But I am a novice runner, hills are for Marathoners! No, Hill workouts can help everyone of every running ability. For those relatively new to regular running, the notion of introducing maximal effort hill sprints is often met with concern over the possibility of overtraining and encouraging injury. And yet, including one or two weekly hill sprint sessions into your training may well be safer than just knocking out long distances on flat ground.

The Edge can teach you how to safely run up and down a hill making your hill running experience fun.

Running uphill and downhill require some slight tweaks to your form to maximize your power and efficiency as well as provide you much needed oxygen.

Here is a coles note version of proper hill running technique.

Uphill: The most critical element is that you keep your chest up and open. Keep your head and eyes up, looking about 30 meters in front of you. Focus on driving your knee off the hill, not into the hill like you might do if you maintained your normal knee drive. Work on landing on the ball of your foot to spring up the hill.

Downhill:  Just like when running uphill, you want to have a slight lean forward at the hips to take advantage of the downhill. Land with your foot either right beneath your torso or just slightly in front of your pelvis, depending on the grade of the downhill (the steeper the grade, the more likely your foot is to land out in front). Extending your leg too much will cause you to land on your heel, which will act like a breaking motion. Stride length should naturally extend when running downhill. However, you should not need to consciously increase your stride length. The pace and the grade of the hill will do this naturally for you.