While I have been training for my long distance events I have settled on a few goals. One of these goals involve getting in better overall shape which includes losing weight and strengthening my body. Now – long distance running can and will do both, however sometimes it is better to mix things up a little bit. That is when I start doing hill sprints.
Do I like hill sprints? Not at all. Will I stop doing them? Never.
Here are the reasons why:
Speeding Up Your Pace
As you run up steep inclines, you are obviously putting more stress on your muscles to get to the necessary speed to move up the hill. You may actually fine that you are going MUCH slower than if you were sprinting on a flat surface, although you are putting in the same amount of effort (or more).
Eventually, this type of sprinting will cause you to become stronger and faster. Once faster sprinting up a hill, guess what happens when you are on a flat surface?
Safety of Sprinting
Sprinting is a great way to condition your body, but it does come with some risk. As your body gets to top speeds you are more susceptible to sprains and pulled muscles.
Amazingly, you can actually keep sprinting and reduce the change for injury just by sprinting up hills. Since you are moving on an incline your body’s speed is automatically slower, however your body is working just as hard to maintain that speed.
In essence, you are training to move fast without even moving that fast!
Proper Form, Without Even Realizing It
To run with proper form, your center of gravity (your hips) have to move slightly forward. While running up an incline, your body automatically does this.
You also learn to aggressively move your arms to help propel you up the hill. This is a great skill to have when you are at the last few miles of a longer run and need your arms to help you make it the rest of the way.
Do you have any reasons why you do hill sprints? Do you incorporate them into your training? What type of workouts do you do?