If you wanna be stronger, faster and fitter, not to mention richer, smarter and more good looking (okay, I made up those last three), I have some good news and bad news. The good news? It’ll only take you 10 seconds. The bad news? It involves one of my personal top three un-fun things to do: running uphill. But according to former world championship competitor Brad Hudson, “there’s nothing better for developing speed and muscle power”.
When Hudson starting coaching a few years ago, he noticed that “hill work” was the common denominator in successful training programs. And hill work works; resulting in “a jump in leg strength, running economy (how efficiently your body uses oxygen) and aerobic capacity”. After reading about the science, Hudson saw the results in the athletes he trained: James Carney improved his 10K personal, which put him in contention for the U.S. Olympic team; while Dathan Ritzenhein, who ran “2:14:01 last year in his debut marathon, believes hills have made him less injury-prone.”
Professional athletes aside, what are the benefits for us mere mortals? Answer: maximum training and minimum risk of injury. Face pace is great for speed and the hill provides the strength benefit. Think of it as an equivalent to weight training for your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. What’s more, the explosive action improves elasticity in muscles and tendons and the short time period helps avoid the build-up of lactate or fatigue. Finally “the slope shortens the distance you have to ‘fall’ or land, reducing impact.” Safety first!
So, now that you have the lowdown on the uphill gains, here’s how to incorporate it into your daily routine: First, find a hill with a six to ten percent grade. Then tack on a 10 second sprint to two easy runs per week. Keep adding a sprint each week until you reach eight, then cut back to doing them once a week – which is “not easy to do,” says Hudson. “But the pain’s gone in a second or two.”
Yeah, and I’m sure once you build up speed and strength, the 10 seconds will just fly by.
(via Runner’s World)