We don’t hear from a lot of people asking for tips on making their runs more difficult. But hey, training is all about challenging yourself, right?
One way to do that is to run some hills. If you’re trying to build strength and speed without doing a lot of training outside of running, hills can be ideal. You can still be out there logging miles and wearing out sneakers, all the while getting the kind of muscle-building benefits that come with less wind-in-your-hair exercises like squats and weights.
Here are some things to keep in mind before you begin an uphill battle.
Get ready. Yes, you should be warming up and stretching before any run…hills or no hills. But it’s still worth repeating that if you’re headed for serious inclines, you should take some extra care to warm up and stretch out before you do.
Start slow. Even if you’re a fairly experienced flat-lander, diving into hill work can give you a run for your money. Take it slow and gradually add more and more uphill distance to your routes.
Cool down. Running hills puts significant additional strain on your muscles, particularly the legs. Set yourself up for a speedy recovery and minimal soreness with a cool-down walk and a good stretch.
Rest up. Serious hill running can really take it out of you. Plan ahead and don’t be surprised if you need some extra recovery time to feel 100 percent. (You might also find that you feel great the next day, but have soreness set in a day or two later.)
For every bit of uphill you run, there will be a bit of downhill to match. This is a nice relief, but be sure to keep yourself under control as you descend. It’s easy to get sloppy as you run downhill, which can lead to an injury. Be careful out there and enjoy those hills!