Hills, Hills, Hills!

Hills, Hills, Hills!

Ok, I have to admit I always groaned a little whenever there was even the slightest incline in any of the marathons I ever ran. It was never something I ever had to worry about on any of my runs having lived in the Chicago area for the majority of my life. But when I moved to Kenosha this last February and saw this guy I smiled a little.

My legs ached after only a third way up. I had to stop and walk on more than one occasion and by the time I reached the top I was completely out of breath (It looks more impressive in person). That hasn't happened in such a long time. But I was still smiling. And now I'm addicted to my little hill. Incorporating hills to your regular workout routine has many benefits and well worth the hard work.

Improved muscle strength.
Major muscle groups have to work much harder to get you up the slope. Running uphill targets your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, core, and upper body. Over time this will also increase your running speed. Running on a flat road will seem like nothing after tackling a few hills!

Cardiovascular Health.
Running uphill is often compared to doing speedwork and I can see why. Your heart and lungs get a real workout as they struggle to deliver oxygen to your muscles. Forcing your heart and lungs to work harder will strengthen them over time making you a more efficient runner.

Low Impact.
I love everything about speed work. I love seeing how fast I can really run week after week. But running fast isn't exactly gentle on your knees and joints. Running hills gives you the same high aerobic intensity without the high impact. Your knees will definitely thank you.

Weight Loss
This is pretty obvious. You work harder and use more muscles climbing up the hill which means you're burning more calories in a shorter amount of time. Raising the incline on your treadmill by one or two degrees can burn significantly more calories. Perfect for days when we are strapped for time.

Hills don't have to be the obstacles that many runners see them as but an opportunity to improve so many aspects of one's body, overall health, and, of course, running in the fastest possible way with the least possible impact. Plus, it really is a lot of fun just seeing how fast I can go up the hill. It's like being a kid again. This is the first year I have run without pain and I can't help but think it has something to do with my little hill.



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