Spring has sprung and the warm weather is here! I’m busting to get back into running because I’ve been focusing on strength training for a couple of months now. My body is craving to be outside in the warmth and moving in new ways, so I’ve been creating a new running training program for spring. I’m keeping it versatile with slow long runs, short quick runs and something I’ve not included for a while – hill runs! Anyone else have a love-hate relationship with hill runs? Despite the pain, every running coach I’ve ever spoken to says its essential to improve your performance and I agree. So today, I’m sharing the benefits of running hills. Perhaps this knowledge will increase the love part of that relationship? I’m also giving away 3 pairs of 2XU MCS Run Compression Tights! Have a read and see if this is the motivation you need to incorporate hills into your running program.
What are the benefits of running hills?
Hill running brings more strength & speed
Hill running is similar to resistance training, thanks to gravity, which requires your muscles to work harder to move your body weight up the hill at the same pace as on the flat. Ultimately the power of your glutes and leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, calves) will grow which will help you to run faster on any terrain. If you want to improve your speed even more, try hill sprints. This is where you run up the hill at max effort (like a murderer’s chasing you) for around 10 seconds at a time, which trains your body to use your fast twitch muscle fibers.
Endurance & mental strength
Running hills also builds cardio endurance and increases fatigue resistance. Although the benefits aren’t all physical, they transpire to the mental toughness too as your brain notes your body’s ability to exceed it’s comfort zone and thrive thereafter. This mental strength and confidence will not only help you in future runs but it will also flow into other areas of your life, building your resilience. As my husband who is an army officer says, ‘most people who are physically strong are mentally strong too’.
When to use hill runs?
If you want to loss weight
If you want to increase your weight loss, running up hills will burn a HEAP more calories than running on the flat.
If you’ve found running hard on your body
Hill runs are also great if you’ve found you suffer with shin splints or joint pain when running on the flat because running uphill can alleviate some of the pressure that causes the shin pain.
When you’ve hit a plateau in your running results
Once you reached your body’s natural peak level of running fitness it can be hard to improve your times further, even when you’re doing speed work on the flat. Hills are a great way to increase intensity, build the strength, speed and endurance to push your body to the next level.
What gear will best support your efforts to the top?
I wear 2XU’s compression wear because it’s super comfortable and helps promote increased blood flow and greater oxygen to the muscles for more extensibility and greater movement efficiency. It also helps give you a faster warm up. Warm ups are important to prepare your muscles pre-run to helps you reduce risk of injury. For those of you who want the stats behind the improvements compression wear can make:
- Gains of up to 10.6 secs over a 10km run
- Power improvement of 1.4% for exercise bouts up to 30 minutes
- Reduces muscle oscillatory properties of the quads, calves and surrounding soft tissue
- Reduces heart rate by up to 2.5% for exercise bouts lasting up to 15 mins.
- Reduced swelling to the thigh by 1.1cm and to the calf by 0.6cm based on girth measurement when worn in a 60 minute recover period
- 4.8% increase in blood lactate removal in a 60 minute recovery period
- Power improvements of up to 2% when worn for recovery between repeat bouts of exercise
2XU MCS Run Compression Tights
These tights are Anatomical Muscle Mapping full length MCS compression tights MCS stands for Muscle Containment Stamping. They map across the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves to help activate muscles and reduce strain and impact from running and resistence work. By the way, I have THREE PAIRS to giveaway below – valued at $189.95 each!
2XU Top (compression or normal)
I switch between a compression top and a normal tee depending on what feels more comfortable on the day.
2XU no show compression socks
I love these no show socks (pictured above in pink) because they stop my feet from swelling up when I run but aren’t dorky looking because they’re low cut.
I’m big on sun safety but know that it can get hot wearing a hat when running – this is when the performance visor comes in!
For my shoes I like to wear ASICS Kayanos, super supportive and really comfortable! NB the ones pictured above are the 2015 model but the most recent ones you can see in the gallery below.
Shop my favourites – Find the 2XU compression wear & ASICS Kayanos that’s right for you:
Win 1 of 3 pairs of 2XU MCS Compression Tights (valued at $189.95)
The gear I am wearing in this post was gifted to me by 2XU, thank you for supporting the brands that make Eat Pray Workout possible!