Hill Running improves running strength and running form, resulting in improved running speed and economy. Previously we discussed Why to Run Hills. Let's look at a few ways to implement hill training in your running plan.
Long Hills instead of Tempo Intervals
Long, gradual hills can be used similarly to a lactate threshold or tempo run. More lactate is produced while ascending and respiration increases. Used at the end of a run, the body will be trained to recruit more muscle fibers while fatigued.
To progress this training, begin with half a mile of gradual uphill at the end of a medium to long run. The next week increase to one mile of gradual uphill. Continue to increase the uphill distance in accordance with the specific demands of your event. Mile runners probably don't need 8 miles of uphill but marathon runners might.
Short Hills for Speed Development
Short hills help to recruit muscle fibers. More muscle fibers means more strength. More specific strength means more speed. Short hills increase force production which will make you faster.
Conduct this workout after a warm up or even after a short tempo run. Find a moderate incline at least 60 meters long. Run 10 to 15 seconds up the hill. Jog back down. Rest. Repeat.
Increase the number of hill repetitions slowly from week to week. As the competitive phase nears, remember to make your workouts specific to your event. If you are running track events, transition these speed development repeats to flat surfaces.
Improve Running Form with Short Hills
Running short hills improves running form by increasing knee lift and increasing core strength. By running fast over short hills, your body naturally uses economical form. Fast effort will also promote a mid-foot strike, beneficial to running efficiency.
Do these at the end of a run with a fast, almost all out effort lasting 10 seconds. Repeat as many as necessary but the goal is to feel good, not stressed.
More Hill Workouts for Runners
How else do you use hills? Where do you place them in your running training plan? Share with us in the comments below or on Twitter.