Beginner runners will want to eventually incorporate hill running into their routines. Running hills helps to enhance fitness levels. Additionally, running hills properly improves cardio strength and builds muscles. Hill running offers the mental break needed to reduce stress. Individuals can begin running hills just as they start increasing their pace. Here are some helpful tips to get started:
Hills Before Mountains
Start with slight hills before attempting anything too steep. Otherwise, you'll burn out, and it will be hard on the developing muscles and joints.
Grass, Not Cement
Try running on a grass or dirt hill instead of on a sidewalk that may be alongside the hill, or a hill paved with asphalt.
Start with some light stretching exercises for about five to ten minutes before heading out. Stretching allows for better stride action and decreases muscle tightness.
Face your uphill run as a way to strengthen the upper leg muscles, which produce speed, and the downhill run that forces runners to move at a quicker pace. Run with good form to prevent less injury.
It is a good idea to keep track of your running progress in a journal. Develop a hill routine and stick to it, charting any progress along the way. For example, individuals can begin a routine of running 4-9 400-meter hills on a moderate 5 percent grade. If that cannot be accomplished, try a smaller goal and work up to that one. It is okay to perform hill work only once a week. Another great hill goal would be to pick a hill with a moderate grade, 5-8 percent, then begin with 3-4 repetitions and progressively increase to a maximum of 8-12. In order to build strength, it is very important to rest between each hill. It is also good to keep in mind that steep, short hills develop quick, dynamic strength, while long, sustained hills build stamina.
There will be some good and some bad weather days. On the bad weather days, individuals can always opt to run hills on a treadmill. Running on treadmills can be less taxing on the joints, preventing less risk of injury.
Make sure to always do a cool down routine by stretching and loosening out tight muscle groups for about five to ten minutes. Then be sure to drink plenty of water after the workout. Individuals can begin to see results within a month.