Do you include hill sprints and hilly runs in your winter running training? Here are some of our favourite reasons for running hills in Autumn and Winter...
Build Strength By Running Hills
One of the most important reasons for including hill training in your running routine is that it builds incredible strength and power (without bulk). If your aim is a hilly road race or off-road event, this will obviously benefit you in a specific way. But even if you don't race, or if your races are mostly flat, you'll find that the increased power you get from regularly running hills translates into a faster normal pace, and the ability to kick up speed when it matters.
Train For Off-Road Or Cross-Country Season
If you're aiming at running an off-road race or cross-country season, hill training is a must. In this instance, make it as specific as possible. Find out what terrain and incline your race is likely to include, and seek out a similar hill. Either tackle it as a series of hill reps, or make sure your regular running route incorporates it.
Shake Up Your Regular Running Training
Hill training of all kinds is a great addition to your running training, just like track sessions, intervals and recovery runs all have their place. And, just like those other types of running tools, hill running needs to be carefully programmed in to your week, month and season. Don't over do it and make sure you leave ample time to recover from hill training. It should replace, not be in addition to, other demanding sessions such as track workouts or interval sprints.
Burn More Calories With Hill Sprints
There are a few ways to boost the calorie burn of running: pace, speed, distance and incline. Tackle the incline aspect of this algorithm by dedicating yourself to hill sprints.
- find a local hill (the steeper the better) at least 400m long
- warm up (run to it if possible)
- sprint up, powering with your arms, lifting your knees, and looking a few metres ahead
- turn and walk or jog (carefully) down to lower your heart rate
- repeat the hill sprint at least 4 times, working up to 10-12 at your fittest
- cool down very well
- take care to stretch, particularly calves and hamstrings
- include this session just 1 or 2 times a week