Why should we be hill training?
As a coach and a runner I have seen similarities across training programs geared toward youth development to collegiate and professional sprinters. The factor that connects a sprinter contending for the Olympics to a 10 year old learning how to run is hill training. It is the most efficient and effective way to build muscular strength and speed, but the benefits go far beyond that. We see improvement in running economy, explosiveness, and injury prevention that changes our body’s ability to handle maximal intensity, strength training, and long distance running.
This month in Stride we will be exploring a range of training methods all surrounding hill work. It will be sprint focused, while other times we will be working up longer, gradual hills. When we attack short, aggressive hills we will be developing our body’s ability to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers. This quick pace will help our speed development and quicken our turnover that will translate to all realms of speed work, like plyometrics, 30 second sprints, or dynamic mode. Longer, more gradual hills will improve our muscular endurance and strength, which will benefit our aerobic capacity and longevity of our muscles throughout distance training runs!
Hill work can be very advantageous toward keeping our bodies healthy due the increase in resistance, which builds the strength of our muscles that we heavily rely on when climbing. Warm ups will be targeting our glutes and hamstrings since these are the muscle groups we want to rely on instead of our hip flexors and quads. We will be intentional about our form as we train at incline - striking the belt with the middle of our foot, having a forward lean, and quickness in our turnover.
Get ready to dive in this month to feel fitter, faster, and stronger!
All Hail the TreadMighty,