Senchyna: Add hill running to your training

Most competitive road and trail runners know about hill training. Athletes in team sports don’t always make use of it – but many should.

In the running world, there are many different training routines for many different purposes.

Some are geared to improve your endurance, speed, technique and so on.

One of the best, but least enjoyed, is hill running.

Most competitive road and trail runners know about hill training. Athletes in team sports don’t always make use of it – but many should.

If your position requires speed and power, you should definitely consider adding hills to your training.

Sports such as soccer, lacrosse and rugby can all benefit from hill training, but it’s not just for running sports. Hockey players, for instance can benefit quite a bit, even though the pattern of muscle firing is a little different in skating compared to running.

Hill running can do many things for the athlete. The first and most obvious benefit is that you will help build leg strength. Running uphill effectively increases the load on your legs more than on flat terrain. Sports that require explosive leg strength and power will benefit from hills. And although weight training is great for running and skating sports, hill running will also do this while performing an actual running stride. So the motor firing patterns will be reinforced with extra load. This is an excellent functional type of training.

Another benefit is that hills help improve your technique, and does so in a number of different ways. The biggest and most important change is that it helps improve speed by moving the centre of mass slightly forward over your toes. When you run uphill your body is vertical but the angle of the incline creates an artificial simulated forward lean. Once you get back on flat ground you naturally lean forward over your toes, which is a more speed/sprint posture.

Hills also force the lifting up of your ankles (called dorsiflexion of the foot), lifting of the knees (hip flexion) and pumping of the arms, all essential in generating speed. During flat running or skating, the athlete doesn’t naturally perform these movements.

The other benefit of running uphill is that you then have to get downhill again. Running downhill provides a strengthening effect for the legs because you are absorbing the force of gravity pulling your body weight downhill. This kind of activity in weight training is called ‘eccentric’ muscle contraction (called ‘negatives’ in the gym).

The typical frequency for hill training is once a week during in-season or for those unfamiliar with this type of training and twice a week for pre-season and experienced athletes.

The usual interval periods are 10-30 second intervals but it depends on the demands of your sport. For instance, a striker in soccer may need a maximum of an eight second sprint in a game situation, so training longer than that would not be necessary. A hockey player may want to train for a typical 30 second shift on the ice, and so the goal will be to increase the duration to 30 seconds.

You would normally start with two to four repetitions each session if you are new to hills, and progress to 8-10 repetitions per session, but the demands of each sport determines the routine. You need to incorporate sufficient rest periods of 1-3 minutes between repetitions in order to give a full effort running up the hill on each subsequent rep.

Running up or downhill has risks associated with it. It is a higher intensity training that should only be attempted by those with at least moderate to higher levels of fitness and is not for beginners.

Ideally, it should be supervised by a coach familiar with this type of training.

– Kerry Senchyna is the founder, owner and president of West Coast Kinesiology since 1992 and is a provincially registered kinesiologist.

 

Just Posted

Super 30 story’s inspirational teacher, author attend screening

Indian mathematician Anand Kumar and Dr. Bijou Matthew in Maple Ridge

Influx of donors for Battle of the Bravest Blood Drive

Maple Ridge event supports five-year-old Paisley, who has leukemia

Dickson leads Canada to win at world lacrosse championships

Burrards prominant in tournament in Langley

Hammond Cedar workers can access retraining funds

Maple Ridge mill workers to be laid off by end of October

Global Climate Strike comes to Maple Ridge

Small group pickets outside city hall

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Westbound crash on Highway 1 in Langley causing extreme traffic delays

Collision occured just after Glover Road, cars backed up all the way to 264th Street

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Surrey school district OKs students skipping class for global climate strike

Students must be excused from school by parents; will be able to make up missed work without penalty

Most Read