I bloody love hills. It hasn't always been like that but sometime when training for my first marathon I decided to stop hating the hills, and instead embrace and learn to love them. So why do I love hills? There are three key points:
- They make you a strong runner. Training on hills improves leg-muscle strength, quickens your stride, expands stride length and enhances your running economy. When you go on to race on the flat after having trained on hills you'll feel pretty immense.
- If your route is hilly you'll get natural intervals on your run - hills are sometimes called speedwork in disguise as they condition your legs to the same kind of fatigue you experience in races and develop your cardiovasculatory system to deal with serious speed.
- They are good for mental strength. If you've run a lot of hill in practice you'll feel more prepared and less scared for any hills during your race.
Today I did one of my two current favourite runs, hill intervals combined with a - relatively slow - tempo run (the other favourite being Olga Intervals). So what did I get ouy of that session? I worked my glutes and hamstrings a bit harder than if I'd done either session on their lonesome, as well as getting the legs used to keep going when fatigued - not to mention feeling strong mentally after having finished my hour-long session. What's there not to love about that??!