Hopefully you have hopped off the ol' treadmill now that it's Spring and are running in the great out-of-doors. A major challenge of taking your running to the streets is hills. Many runners avoid the incline, but here are some reasons why you shouldn't skip the hills and tricks for mastering the climb.
• Running hills works your upper leg muscles more than running on flat ground.It also targets the backside, strengthening and toning the booty and the hamstrings.
• Another selling point for running hills (if toning your fanny wasn't enough) is that the muscle groups you use to climb hills are virtually the same as those you use for sprinting, so hill work enhances your speed by building strength. In other words, the benefits of running uphill translate to running flats.
• If you haven't given up the treadmill, do note that each one percent increase in the elevation angle requires four percent more energy, so the incline forces you to work harder. Make the most of your time on the machine by pumping up the incline with this rolling hills workout for the treadmill.
• You should, however, be cautious about "hill work" if you have an injury in your calf or Achilles tendon since the running on inclines can aggravate these injuries. Even if you don't, you should still be sure to stretch your calves especially well after your hilly workout.
• When running uphill, gaze up to where you're going and not at your feet. Looking forward helps you keep your head up to maintain good posture, making it easier to breathe — and trust me, you're going to need all the oxygen you can get.
Looking for tips on how to get down the other side of the hill? Check out: Learn to Love: Running Downhill.