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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > October 2018 > RUN FOR THE HILLS

RUN FOR THE HILLS

DO YOUR LEGS NEED SOME EXTRA STRENGTH? ARE YOUR RUNS ON THE FLAT JUST A LITTLE DULL? YOU, MY FRIEND, NEED SOME HILLS IN YOUR LIFE

TRAIL RUNNING SPECIAL/HILL RUNNING

We’ve all felt it. Chipping along comfortably on a nice flat run, you suddenly look up and are confronted by the runners’ nemesis: a hill. You hit the incline but, before you know it, your legs feel like jelly, your stride length shortens to a mere patter, your head is down and your heart rate is up through the roof. No doubt about it, hills are hard. But they’re also the ultimate training ground. And running them regularly will improve your form, strength and stamina.

THE BENEFITS OF HILL TRAINING

Hitting the hills improves your cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory fitness. In other words, it makes your heart more powerful, your breathing rate more controlled, and improves the transport of oxygen around your body. Running hills develops leg strength, stamina, running economy and power. Master hills and you also develop a sense for controlling discomfort and build a mental tenacity perfect for racing. As well as developing strength endurance, hills can also help with building better running technique. They enhance knee lift, develop co-ordination and improve the technique to drive legs and arms effectively. Uphill running develops leg strength and explosive power, but it’s not just about the ups – the downs are just as useful. The application of braking forces and eccentric muscle action necessary for downhill running improves control, balance and stability.

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About Men's Running

When I first started running, venturing off-road was all about school cross-country races, generally around anodyne playing fields in heavy football boots. It wasn’t the kind of experience that books are written about. In fact, it was the kind of experience that scarred many would-be runners for life. But fast forward, cough cough, a few years and trail running is now big business. The clamour for places in the ‘big daddy’ of all trail race, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, is as fervent as the Virgin Money London Marathon and shoe companies now have entire ranges dedicated to trail and off-road. Why is it so popular? If you haven’t yet ventured off the beaten track, trail running is about being more in-tune with nature and taking stock of your surroundings. It’s not about times or even really distances; it’s about testing your body over different terrain with vistas to die-for! In this Men’s Running special, we talk about everything trail, from training to technique. We even cover a few races for good measure. We hope you enjoy!