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Running uphill – everything you should know

Publish date 20.09.2022

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Running uphill – everything you should know

Do you want to improve your strength, endurance, and speed? If so, then running uphill will be perfect for you. It will also help you prepare for the many sporting events you want to participate in. Then heavier sections of the course won’t scare you.

By running uphill you will also do a good workout for your body and burn calories. However, you must keep in mind that this type of training involves more effort. All your muscles work harder than they do with normal running. 

Therefore, you need to know how to run uphill so that the workout is fruitful and helps you gain strength. In this article, I will show you everything you need to know about running uphill. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Uphill running – what is it?

There is not much to explain here. In this case, you simply find a hill and start running up. However, keep in mind that although it sounds simple, such is not the case. Running uphill is recommended for experienced and advanced people. 

This does not mean that if you are a beginner you cannot do this activity. However, it is a workout that requires strength and endurance. If you are at the beginning of your journey with running, you can quickly become discouraged by such training. 

Running uphill - training

Uphill running – what muscles work during this activity?

  • biceps muscle, 
  • quadriceps,
  • thigh,
  • calves, 
  • buttocks, 
  • arms, 
  • body.

When running uphill, the muscles of the entire body work harder than when running on flat terrain. Therefore, it is especially worth convincing yourself to run uphill if you want to clearly outline your muscles.

Benefits of uphill running

Now, let’s focus on the benefits of uphill running. Thanks to this activity you will increase:

  • dynamics, 
  • acceleration,
  • endurance,
  • running technique, 
  • muscle mass, 
  • joint stability, 
  • you will strengthen your muscles, 
  • you become mentally stronger, 
  • you will overcome difficult routes more easily 

How to run uphill 

You must remember to:

  • do not shuffle your feet on the surface, 
  • don’t run when you have not enough strength and you are feeling weak,
  • look ahead, not under your feet 

How to run uphill? 

  • You must run upright.
  • Run with your foot, landing on the midfoot.
  • Lift your knees high. 
  • Work your arms intensively. 

Can’t stand the proper running technique anymore? Finish your workout and return to it the next day or the day after you have rested.

Different types of running uphill

Long, continuous uphill runs 

These uphill runs will be perfect for runners who want to improve their endurance, and respiratory capacity and increase their breathing capacity. What’s more, you will improve your running technique with this workout. 

Fast uphill runs 

This type of uphill running will help you improve your running dynamics and acceleration. Moreover, it is an excellent form of training if you want to work on your running technique. 

How to run uphill – the way to do it

Continuous/long run-ups 

Length of section: 100-600 meters 

How long should it last: 30-120 seconds

The slope of the hill: 3-6% 

You should keep your running pace and intensity constant. Choose your pace so that he can train freely and do enough repetitions. Run down the hill slowly – the idea is to make the procedure last longer than the run-up. Then the training will be effective and bring results. 

Training - running uphill

Fast/short/sprint run-uphill 

When deciding on these run-ups, you must remember one thing – you run up as hard as you can. However, you have to be careful to have the strength for the next run-ups, because after all, the training doesn’t end with one. The intensity of each run-up should be the same. Take care of it, then the whole training and your effort will make sense. And what are the tips for running uphill? 

Slope and time? The slope should have an incline of 6-10%. The time to complete a run-up should be 5-15 seconds. Treat the run down the hill as a rest. Run down the hill at a slow trot or mash. 

What about regeneration? Regeneration is the time from the downhill run to the next uphill run. It is supposed to be long, up to 2 minutes. Your muscles work hard during this exercise and should be given time to rest before you proceed to the next uphill run. 

The number of repetitions? It all depends on your endurance and your training. Don’t perform them more than twice a week, preferably once a week after a previous run-up, or a light jog. Don’t do an intense workout again the next day.

Running uphill in varied terrain and continuous running 

This is something for advanced runners with high capacity and endurance. This form of training will work well as preparation for a marathon in heavily undulating terrain. You can do this run as a fartlek, at your starting pace, or treat it as a run.

You can use it once a week or at every training session. However, remember then not to make every run intense and to supplement such training with running on flat stretches as well.

Running uphill on a treadmill – is it a good idea? 

Of course. This will be an excellent way to adapt for people who are starting their adventure with uphill running. On the treadmill, you will set yourself the exact incline with a few clicks. The best incline of the treadmill is 4-8%. What’s more, on this device you will maintain a proper and constant pace. 

A good introduction to treadmill runs are short marches. With marches, the angle of inclination can be higher – even 9-16%

Training – running uphill is not everything 

Running uphill should not be the base of your training. This base is formed by standard runs with mostly flat sections. Why? The muscle during an uphill run does not have the entire range of motion. This range is shortened. So, if after constant training in undulating terrain, you want to run at a competition in flat terrain, the learned, shortened movement will negatively translate into your stride length.

Running uphill – prepare well for the competition 

To prepare well for the competition you should familiarize yourself with the running route. This will help you know what terrain to train on to prepare for the run and the route. 

Therefore, don’t train only for uphill runs, also focus on flat terrain to adjust the pace and intensity of your run. This will help you see what kind of fitness you have, too. 

Why change between uphill runs and flat terrain? 

When you are used to a given pace, but achieved on run-ups, it will be hard for you to repeat this result on flat terrain because the muscles will not work to their full extent: you will have a shorter stride, and during the flight phase the muscle will not stretch properly.

What about stairs? 

You can’t always find a suitable hill somewhere that has the right slope or is somewhere close to your home. That’s why if you want to run uphill, but don’t have a suitable place, you can use stairs. You can find them practically anywhere. They are also a good form of training. You can find them in many places: where you live, in parks, or by bridges. 

Workout - running up the stairs

Running uphill – what is also crucial during training?

  • Level surface – the idea is that the surface you run on should be free of roots or stones. This will allow you to run without fear of having to dodge obstacles or of tripping while running and getting injured. The most important thing, however, is that the even surface will help you maintain an even pace and a steady stride. 
  • Appropriate slope – for a good workout you need to make sure that the slope of the hill where you are doing the run-up is appropriate. It should not exceed 12%. Such training will allow you to significantly increase your muscle strength and your endurance. 
  • Don’t run to the max – use about 80% of your strength to run uphill. This will allow you to train effectively and do more repetitions of the exercise. 
  • If you are tired let it go – if you feel you are no longer doing the workout with the same intensity then end it. Remember to exercise moderation. 

Remember about the warm-up 

Many people are so focused on the workout itself that they start their runs without warming up or treating them as a warm-up. Be sure to do some exercises before starting this workout to keep your muscles warmed up and avoid getting an injury, which I’m sure you’re trying to avoid at all costs. 

Right now you know how to run uphill and that there are different techniques that you can use during your training. You also know how to do it right. Don’t be afraid of uphill runs – add such activity to your plan. 

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