We hear it all the time - want to get stronger legs? Run hills! Want to get faster? Run hills! If you’re running a race in the mountains or in a hilly city, then of course you want to train on them to be prepared. But how much benefit does the average runner get from huffing it up and down that overpass? Turns out, quite a bit.
Hill repeats are basically running uphill for a set amount of time and then having a set recovery time to jog back down. They are great for supporting your other workouts and studies have shown that hill repeats can improve running economy and speed. According to Carrie Barrett, a USAT-certified coach at Austin Aquatics and Sports Academy, other benefits include improved breathing, posture, and cadence. But it’s important to maintain your form, she notes, which means quick turnover with your legs and leaning at the ankles, not at the hips.
It’s also true when they say that hills can make your legs stronger, especially if you’re new to running. It’s always a bonus when you can get stronger by actually running vs. lifting weight in the gym, and hill repeats are the way to do it. Hills work your quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles, which will help prevent injuries down the road.
Wondering how exactly to incorporate hill repeats into your workout? Find a few suggestions here.