The Benefits Of Uphill and Downhill Running

Are you like Poh of Kung Fu Panda and that his No. 1 & Ultimate enemy is the stairs? Do you hate joining a hike or mountain climbing because you feel like it is too difficult for you?

Think again, you thought it is wrong but once you started it you may want to do it and do it and do it again and again! Bring your running training program to a new level by adopting running hill training. Most runners dread hill running because it looks hard to tackle but uphill running, even downhill running, provides a lot of benefits to runners.

I created this blog entry to change perception of those who are afraid or even scared of running on hills or those who are lazy to try. This works for me I hope that it would do for you also. Enjoy reading my blog and let me know what you think.

I encourage newbie runners to try running uphill or downhill then switch from road running to trail running. Let’s start today and make it fun along the way. I dare you to challenge yourself & start NOW!

Below are the benefits that you can get from uphill running and downhill:

It Builds Strengh

Hill training works your upper leg muscles more than running on flat ground. It tones your calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes. It also targets your hip flexors and Achilles tendons.  Strengthening these muscles will provide a lot benefits as you improve your race times.

It Enhances speed

Another benefit of uphill running training is that the muscles you use to overcome hills are the same ones you use for sprinting. As you build strength in uphill running, you also get faster. In other words, running the incline improves your speed by building strength and power and you run faster on flat ground.

It Develops stamina

Running hill training improves cardiovascular fitness and develops maximum speed and strength that enables you to use less oxygen to run at longer distances. 

It Burns more calories

Because you exert more work on inclines, hill repeats running can burn more calories than running on flat ground.

Fortunately, hill running is an acquired skill and with some helpful tips on uphill running training and downhill running technique, beginners like you may soon look forward to hills during your runs.

If you don’t hate stairs, uphill and downhills I assure you from now on you are looking forward to run on hills or even bridges in urban places like foot bridges you want also try to climb mountains or join trail runs as it is common today.

Tips on Uphill Running

  • Don’t attack the hill right away. Start with an easy warmup.
  • Choose a path with appealing surroundings for a start.
  • Take a gentle slope and jog slowly at each ascent.
  • Slightly lean forward from your hips but avoid the tendency to slump.
  • Keep your head up, shoulders relaxed and back straight and erect.
  • Move your arms, which should be at 90 degrees angle, forward and backward rotating at the shoulder and not side to side.
  • Run with a slightly higher knee lift and push-off hard on steeper incline. Your vertical motion is as important as you run forward.
  • Focus in your breathing rather than your pace. Keep your breathing effort the same as if you’re running on a flat ground.
  • Maintain the same pace on hills as you do on flat ground.
  • Take your time and do not exceed your training capacity level. Take note that speed is not the way forward for beginners.
  • Cool down with a 15 minute jog on level or gently rolling ground.
  • Avoid hill training when you are injured.

Tips on Downhill Running

  • Run on soft surfaces like grass or chip trail.
  • Lean forward slightly to get more speed. Do not lean back to brake or stop yourself. It is the braking motion that causes more injuries when running downhill.
  • Avoid taking huge leaping steps to reduce the pounding on your legs.
  • Let gravity help you downhill.
  • Do not lean too far forward because you will lose your balance and fall.
  • Do not strike on your heels. Run on your toes instead.
  • Run with shorter strides. Short strides are less stressful to your leg muscles.
  • Do not rock your body from side to side or swing your arms or your legs out to the side.
  • Watch out for hazards on hills.
  • Jog slowly on each decent and lightly when you reach the bottom of the hill.

A trek in Mt. Batulao I did run on the trails to catch up with my group. I was assigned to be the sweeper.

Other thoughts to live by:

Conquering hills increases confidence, strength and stamina levels. Balance is also improved along with your ability to regulate breathing once you have incorporated those hill running programs.

Finally, adopt a gradual and staged approach to reap the uphill and downhill running benefits. You’ll learn to like the hills and enjoy a more positive experience.

Watch a clip on this link for more Tips on Running Uphill and Downhill. Enjoy!

Next stop: Want to know the Perfect 30-minute workout? Click here to learn it.

Photo Credits: Google

Hope this help you and I really wanted you to start conquering your fear and pull yourself together to reach greater heights! Have fun and let’s start running uphill/downhill. See you!

About Kalongkong Hiker

I am Paolo Mercado for 20 years I've been riding a bike, walking a lot and running a lot. I am Kalongkong Hiker, a trail runner, mountaineer and a biker that can also write a blog of my travels, adventures and places that I visited through walking, running and biking. I write to encourage others to stay healthy and fit. #KeepOnRunning #ShareTheRoad #KalongkongHiker
This entry was posted in Health, Running, Running Bloggers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to The Benefits Of Uphill and Downhill Running

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  4. Doug says:

    A million thanks for the downhill running tips…


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  7. Latoya says:

    Hi there, after reading this awesome paragraph i
    am also glad to share my knowledge here with friends.


  8. rudolf says:

    ayus toh! Healthful tips!


  9. whattaqueso says:

    nice information you got there, kalongkong..very helpful and might use this someday on trail jogging..


  10. khanto says:

    tips naman sa mga dapat suotin at dalin kung tatakbo 😀


  11. SpiderHam says:

    kakayanin ko din ang uphill basta yung babae ang kasama ko, alam na kung anong mangyayari sa taas ng hill~


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