This weekend I had my first experience running them. I always thought the slight slope in the road throughout my neighborhood was tough to run, but those minor slants in the pavement are nothing compared to these devils. If those so-called "hills" in my neighborhood are in fact hills, then I must have run some mountains in Pittsburgh this weekend. Now that these are under my belt, I should breeze thru my normal route when I return to Texas tomorrow.
Take a look at this monstrosity -
I took this picture halfway up, so imagine this hill double the length of what you see.
Needless to say, I did some walking. OH YEAH, it was 30 degrees out.
This is just ONE example of a hill I encountered. There were many, many more and it definitely put a damper on my pace. I just kept telling myself "Where there is an uphill, there is a downhill." However, even though downhills can be a good time to catch your breath, they can be just as hard as uphills...especially on my knees. You have to change your pace, footing, and breathing, and allow gravity to do it's thing.
This is only sounds like I'm complaining. After my run was over, I actually felt GREAT and knew I was working out harder than usual and benefiting from these mini-mountains.
Benefits of Running Hills:
1. Builds strength - Running hills is a type of resistance training which works your upper leg muscles more than running normally would if you were running on flat ground.
2. Builds speed - By targeting specific areas of your legs and using some of the same muscles used for sprinting, you'll increase your speed on flat terrain.
3. Boredom beater
4. Strengths upper body - Uphill running makes you drive your arms harder than you normally do while running on a flat surface
5. Burns more calories - Obviously you're working harder and pushing yourself to overcome the resistance, so you can burn up to 100+ more calories than you would running the same distance on flat ground.
6. Downhill muscle groups - Running downhill engages your lower abs and works your quads.
7. Prevents shin splits - Running uphill can alleviate the stress and pressure put on your shinbones that you would normally experience when running on a flat surface.
If you don't have any hills in your area, you can always crank the treadmill up to a 10+ incline for some fun times!
Side note: I hit 100 miles on Sunday! 900 to go...
02/11/2013: Miles run - 100 of 1000. Miles remaining - 900 of 1000