Incorporating hill sprinting into a runner’s exercise routine is an essential aspect of training. Hill running is often considered a more challenging exercise since it’s a form of resistance and it’s important that runners utilize hill sets to build up strength, speed and the confidence that they need to invigorate their health, and nurture their athletic skills for continued progress in exercising. Hill running is also a great alternative to circuit or strength training, allowing runners to build calf, quad and glute muscles while also strengthening the hamstrings through running rather than lifting weights.


Below are several ways that hill running can improve a runner’s physique and health while accelerating their training routine.

Improve Speed

When running uphill, the same muscle group used for sprinting are activated. The strength built during these exercises when using this muscle group can help improve overall speed. While it’s obvious that every hill isn’t identical in height and distance, uphill sets are simple workouts that can be tailored according to the resistance needed. When it comes to hill repeats, inclines should be 100 to 200 meters in height, allowing runners to jog up the hill as fast as possible and then run or walk on the descent to cool down for the next repetition. If running outside isn’t possible during training, hill running workouts can be incorporated into a typical treadmill routine. Runners can increase their incline for one to three minutes and jog down to recover. As hill repeats are introduced into a training routine, runners can develop improved running techniques, rhythm, coordination and cadence —  all which will improve speed.


Race Preparation

The more runners practice running inclines, the less intimidating upward terrain will seem on the racetrack. Improved strength and technique will afford a boost in focus and offer the mental fortitude to tackle the challenge of running uphill. Those training for upcoming races, can check their race’s course map ahead of time to identify any elevation that will show how hilly a route will be. Plan training around specific hills or find hills with similar elevations to prepare for the race. Training ahead of time will help improve time during an actual marathon and help build the stamina needed for any rough inclines.


Prevent Injuries

Training on all types of terrain often helps avoid running injuries. However, it’s best to start training by running on flat surfaces before practicing on uphill treks. Running inclines demands a focused warm up, good form and endurance. When running downhill, it is important to run in shoes that provide cushioning and stability to avoid a harsh impact on knee joints along with the lateral and medial quadricep muscles. Safeguarding the body with the proper equipment can also help avoid other running-related injuries. As these muscles are put to the test during other runs or athletic events, runners will be better prepared to meet any physical challenges they encounter.


Running uphill breaks down our rhythm and makes it harder to run at a faster pace while putting immense amounts of strain on the body. However, hills offer the resistance runners need to properly train and engage the muscles needed for improved running performance. Training on inclines can quicken strides, improve leg-muscle strength and help maintain our cardiovascular system. It can even protect our leg muscles against tightness and enhance flexibility and blood movement. Hill running will make each runner stronger in the long run. Within six weeks, the benefits of incline running should be visible in the form of muscle power and improved speed.