Wanna be a Runner? Train on a Hill

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A little incline does a world of good.

When you’re walking on level ground, you’re probably not putting a lot of thought into it. I mean, it’s walking. We all know how to walk in a straight line, it’s not that complicated. However, when you change the elevation of the ground you’re walking on, suddenly, your leg muscles are engaged in entirely different ways. Not only do you have to put a little more muscle into your strides, you might need to be a little more consciously aware of how you’re walking and the best way to do it. This is why hill training is a preferred tactic of professional runners.

As opposed to a normal stride on a level surface, running up a hill improves your natural speed and agility, builds muscle in your legs, stretches and flexes your Achilles tendon, and helps you to extend your hips. Running like this helps you to develop your ideal running form and achieve the body it necessitates. It’s perpetual muscular motion!

Running up a hill can also be modified with different kinds of strides that work your legs in different ways. For example, you can try raising your knees higher for higher strides, which helps you to develop more explosive power in your legs. You can also try bounding up the hill in short, springy jumps, which promotes extension of the hips, improves feet coordination, and, specifically for pro runners, helps you to improve your kick-off technique.

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The best kind of hill to use for training purposes is a simple, grassy one you can find in any public park or large field. You might want to steer away from hills that have a lot of debris on them like rocks or sticks, just to reduce the odds of hurting yourself. An inclined treadmill can also work in a pinch, though it may not be big enough for you to get really creative with your strides, so you should opt for the real deal when possible.