Any cyclists or runners out there??  Today I have a guest post that should be of interest: using inclines to enhance your training

While I’m not hopping on a bike anytime soon, I have been using hill sprints as a “finisher” to most of my workouts lately.  Killer on the legs and lungs, but helpful in SO many ways. 

Read on to learn WHY.


Up, Up and Away: How to Use Hills to Enhance Your Training

A good hill will take your fitness program up a notch or two.  Uphill training builds leg strength, prevents injuries, increases stride power, increases your running efficiency, and reduces the impact on your legs.

Hills, including stairs and stadiums, provide an excellent training tool for runners.  You can incorporate a variety of workouts on a long hill and develop the skills needed for almost any race – hills are particularly helpful for long distance runners.  Hills are powerful as long as you take a gradual approach and choose the right workout routine.

Hill sprints

Steep hill sprints are short but intense and provide two key benefits.  They strengthen your running muscles, so you’re less prone to injury.  They also improve the efficiency and power of your stride, so you’re able to cover more ground with less effort.  The results of a few minutes of uphill sprints are definitely worth the effort.  Check out the brands online at to ensure you have the right gear for hill sprints.


Uphill bike riding

When you’re riding uphill, it’s you and your bike against the hill.  The ride stretches your body to extremes as you defy gravity and make your way up.

Hills pose a serious challenge on your muscles.  The ride is considered a high-intensity activity that expands the strength and definition of the muscles in your legs.  The individual muscle cells in the legs become enlarged in a process called hypertrophy, and immediately increases your physical power.  The workout also tears myofibrils (individual fibers) within the muscles and stimulates the release of repair cells.  The repair cells attach to damaged fibers and increase the diameter to build your muscles over time.


Going up

Most runners cringe at the idea of running up a steep, imposing hill.  You must prepare mentally and physically to attack the hill ahead.  Maintain your rhythm and you’ll make molehills out of the steepest mountains.  Here are some tips for uphill training.

  • Shorten your stride.  You need to modify your stride when you’re moving from a flat surface to a hill.  Shorten your stride and slow down your pace so you won’t feel exhausted in the middle of your run.
  • Posture is crucial when you’re going uphill.  Keep your head, shoulders, and back in a straight line over your feet – do not lean back or pull forward.  Your feet should be low to the ground.
  • Pay attention to your breathing.  It says a lot about what your body is feeling.  Faster breaths mean you’re going too fast or bounding too high off the ground.
  • Explosive motions are a waste of energy, so keep your motions light and shorten your stride even more if the gradient increases.  A short and smooth stride is the best way to keeping your breathing in check. You can extend your stride once the gradient decreases.
  • The benefits of hill training depend on the size of the hill.  In general, the training will develop muscle elasticity and power, promote strength endurance, develop control and stabilization, and improve lactate tolerance.
  • Don’t forget to warm up and cool down after your hill sessions.  Two sessions a week will do a lot to improve your running speed and overall fitness.


Rosemary Schiller has a strong passion for running. From technique to equipment and goal setting, she enjoys blogging about the ins and outs of a successful running program.


QUESTION:  Do you incorporate incline work into your training protocol?  Any other things that you do to increase speed/strength?


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  1. Awesome guest post!

    What I miss most about living on the coast is the lack of hills for training. Hill repeats on trails were some of my favorite runs.

    O course I simulate on the treadmill, but it pales in beauty and footing to Pittsburgh hills and Massanutten mountain trails.

  2. Great tips on running hills efficiently! I do like incorporating hills into my runs because I feel like they make me stronger. Never thought to bike up hill though. I’m not a great biker, especially on hills, so I’d probably have to get off and walk until I built up a bit of strength :)