Hill Workouts For Runners: Beat The Beast!
Hill workouts, some love them, most hate them but everyone agrees that it is absolutely necessary for runners. The only way to conquer and get better at races with hills is to practice, practice, practice!
Although I am a fairly experienced runner, I am still learning with every race how to attack those hills and still be alive when I get to the top. I still have clear visions of the tallest hill I ever conquered which was the hill at mile 7 of the Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon.
I also had a hard time with the bridges and hills in the NYC Marathon, and since marathon training begins this week, I want to make sure that I am ready to handle it! I have teamed up once again with my amazing runner blogger friends to share 6 different hill workouts that you can use during your training for upcoming races!
The first step is to find a hill in your neighborhood perhaps at a nearby park, or set your treadmill on a steep incline. I have a hill in my local park that is a total beast. From there practice running up and down, this will not only build strength in your legs but it will prepare you for what is to come during your races. Don’t be surprised, be prepared!
Here are the workouts, a great variety for when you want to switch things up!
Running up and down hills can be daunting, but with the right techniques and mindset, you can turn these challenges into opportunities for boosting speed, endurance, and overall running strength. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to tackle hills as a runner:
1. Adjust Your Stride: When you’re running uphill, shorten your stride. While this may feel slower, it allows you to run more efficiently and reduces the chance of fatigue. When running downhill, lengthen your stride slightly to allow gravity to assist you.
2. Lean In – But Not Too Much: For uphill running, lean into the hill from your ankles, not your waist. This keeps your center of gravity over your feet and reduces strain on your back. On downhills, lean forward slightly, but maintain control. Avoid leaning back, as this places additional stress on your legs and slows you down.
3. Utilize Arm Swing: Your arms can help with momentum. Pump them harder while going uphill to help propel you forward. Keep them relaxed while going downhill to maintain balance and control.
4. Keep Your Gaze Forward: Looking down at your feet can cause you to lean too far forward or back, compromising your form. Instead, keep your gaze forward, about 10 to 20 feet ahead.
5. Practice Proper Footstrike: When running uphill, push off from the balls of your feet but avoid running solely on your toes. When running downhill, aim for a midfoot strike to decrease braking and reduce impact.
6. Adjust Your Pace: You’ll naturally slow down when running uphill and speed up when running downhill. That’s okay. Listen to your body and adjust your pace as needed. Don’t try to maintain your flat-ground speed on hills, as this can lead to overexertion.
7. Include Hill Workouts: One of the best ways to get better at hill running is to train on hills. Hill repeats—running up a hill at a solid effort, then jogging or walking back down to recover before repeating—can be a great addition to your training regimen.
8. Strengthen Your Core and Lower Body: Core exercises can improve your stability and balance, especially on downhill runs. Strength training for your lower body, particularly your quads and glutes, can power you up hills and protect your knees on downhills.
Hill running can be a challenge, but the benefits are worth the effort. Hills can increase your heart rate, improve your running form, and build strength and confidence. So next time you see a hill, don’t shy away. Charge up, cruise down, and know that you’re becoming a stronger runner with every incline and decline.
How do you attack the hills? What life situation are you currently working uphill against? What are your favorite hill workouts?
If you enjoyed these Hill Workouts For Runners, be sure to check out these Speed Workouts For Runners!
Hi! I’m Nellie. I am an entrepreneur, a busy mama of 3 and a wife to my high school sweetheart. I have been sharing content for over 12 years about how to cook easy recipes, workout tips and free printables that make life a little bit easier. I have been featured in places like Yahoo, Buzzfeed, What To Expect, Mediavine, Niche Pursuits, HuffPost, BabyCenter, Mom 2.0, Mommy Nearest, Parade, Care.com, and more!
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