* Contributed by Jeff Henderson - MIT Head Coach
Columbus isn’t exactly the mecca of hill running. In order to find some good hills you actually have to do a fair bit of planning before heading out on your route. Yet, more often than not it seems we avoid hills as if they were the crazy relative that no one wants to deal with. Sure hills make running and walking quite a bit harder, but all that effort doesn't go in vain. Hill training has many benefits.
Running or walking on hills is great way to build strength without heading to the gym. By throwing inclines into the mix, you are getting in a little resistance training that will help develop strength in the quads, calves, hamstrings and glutes, hip flexors, and Achilles tendons. Yes, you work these areas on flat ground also, but the effects are magnified when training on hills. Hill running and walking also helps build upper body strength. Heading uphill forces you to pump your arms harder which will help develop strength as well as a more efficient arm carriage. What’s even better is that with all this strength you’ll develop on the hills you will be less likely to get injured. Strengthening your leg muscles and tendons greatly reduces your risk of getting injured.
You are bound to encounter hills in your half and full marathons….even in Columbus! By hitting some hills now you will build up the confidence needed to attack the hills in your race. Showing up to a course feeling intimidated by impending hills is no fun. Practice running and walking on hills now will help you develop a more efficient stride which will make you faster!