7 benefits of running on an incline (plus 3 training sessions to try)
The idea of running uphill – especially if you don’t have to – but incline running has a ton of benefits. It can make you fitter, faster, lighter, and leaner. Here’s how.
#1 Burn More Calories
Running on an incline – whether that’s hill sprints or just a hillier outdoor route – takes more effort than running on the flat. That means more calories burned. Experts think that for every extra 1% incline, you will burn 10 more calories per mile. This obviously depends on your weight and size, but every little helps! Incline running is a great way to shake up your weight loss efforts without adding more and more miles to your schedule.
#2 Trim Your Training Time
Incline running is more time-efficient than steady flat running. So if you are pushed for time, crank out a short hilly run (or try one of our sample workouts below). You’ll get the calorie burn and fitness benefit – in much less time.
#3 Be A Stronger Runner
Running uphill engages different muscles (and works those muscles harder) than flat running. Hill running puts more work through your hamstrings, glutes, hips, and calves. Your arms, shoulders, and core will get involved too.
#4 Run Faster On The Flat
Stronger leg and hip muscles mean you’ll be a faster runner even on the flat, too. And perfecting your incline running technique (with high knees and a strong leg drive) will carry over into running on flatter terrain. Hilly running develops serious power.
#5 Reduce Injury Risk
Even a slight incline on the treadmill can reduce your risk of injury. This is because an incline takes away some of the stress on the joints of your lower body. Inline running can be a great rehab exercise if you are recovering from injury.
#6 Boost Your Confidence
Add some hill reps or hilly runs into your regular running schedule and you’ll feel like a powerhouse! Yes, this kind of training is tough. But once you commit to it, you’ll feel like your running credentials have gone up a notch or two. If you can run hills, you can run anything.
#7 Get A PB
Add 1-2 incline sessions to your weekly training plan, and then run a race like the Windsor Half Marathon in September. All that extra incline training will have boosted your fitness, build lower body strength, and added power to your stride. A PB is on the cards!
3 Ways To Run On An Incline
Hill reps are tough but get you fit – fast! Find a short, steep hill and warm up. Power up the hill, driving through your legs and pumping your arms. Run for 20-45 seconds. Jog or walk back to the start. Repeat 6-12 times.
Set the treadmill to an incline and simply do your regular training run, but on a moderate incline. The extra incline will burn more calories, tone your bum and legs, and boost your fitness.
Purposefully plan an outdoor route that includes a variety of hills, inclines, and climbs. The variety will keep you fresh, and you will learn valuable skills (running downhill is a useful skill, too!)