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Hills are hard, we know, but do them right and do them regularly and they will transform your running

Mention the word hill when discussing training sessions and the runners I coach all groan and squirm on the spot. They murmur: “It’s going to hurt. I won’t be able to walk tomorrow.” Yep, it’s true. Hills can feel tough. However, learning to run them with good technique and doing them frequently is a guaranteed way of becoming a faster runner.

This is due to the training effect that running up a gradient at different speeds and for different lengths of time will have on your body. Battling against the gradient, and gravity, improves your stamina, speed, power and strength.

“Hill running never gets any easier, you just learn to go faster,” says Robbie Britton, Team GB ultra-marathon runner (World Championship bronze medallist) and coach. “One important factor to think about is not speed, but efficiency. The quickest way to get up a hill isn’t always to run as fast as possible.”

This is vital to your hill training; your technique is just as important as your speed. While hills aren’t easy, they don’t need to be scary. “They’re the same challenge for everyone,” says Britton. “So if you do the hard work in the buildup to a race, then every hill becomes an opportunity to excel and take in the view around you.”

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About Women’s Running

Ready to take your running off-road? Then make sure you pick up a copy of the October issue of Women’s Running – our trail special. If you’re a complete beginner, you’ll find advice for taking those first steps on the trails and, for the more experienced off-road enthusiasts, tips from the pros – find out how to “ascend like a mountain goat and descend like a demon”. With expert guides to finding the right trail shoes for you, exclusive reviews of the latest off-road shoes and top-to-toe kit suggestions for every off-road eventuality, we’ve also got your off-road wardrobe sorted. And if you’re struggling for inspiration to take your running off road, look no further than our interview with cover star Susie Chan, whose passion for trail running has taken her from the desert to the jungle. Prefer to stick to the roads? No problem. Try our sharp sessions for 10K runners – or, if you’re taking on the longer distance, don’t miss our complete race-day guide for serious marathon runners, packed with all the advice you’ll need on making your race day seamless.