5 Tips to Strengthen Your Hill Running

Runner, adventurer and triathlete Sean McFarlane gives his advice to those looking to improve their hill training…

[1] Core

Yes, we’ve all heard it before. But you do really need to strengthen your core if you want to master hill running. Linked to that is pelvic stability and hip alignment so do some reading on that. With everything being linked, a strong core will also greatly take the strain off your lower back of which more below.

[2] Lower back

By far and away the most common ache amongst first timers. You’ll be bent forward more than usual and the extra load on the legs will reverberate into the lower back. So do some strengthening work for that area. Planks are a good idea as are single leg squats and balances that create instability which you need to control through the core and other body areas.

[3] Knees

Expose your knees, like the rest of your body, gradually to hill running. Different angles, mixed and sometimes rocky terrain, as well as varying foot placements have a habit of
making knees ache. Be confident in your body though and monitor things. If they ache the next day, perhaps back off doing what you did but remember knees that don’t ever ache are the sole property of couch potatoes.

[4] Ankles

In many ways, during a decent hill run you’re constantly going over on your ankles, say by 5% to 10%. So not much at all (you might not even register it) but certainly more so than during a road run. You need to get your ankles accustomed to this new movement. In doing so, they will strengthen and very much help you avoid more serious sprains. So accustom yourself overtime to more taxing terrain.

[5] Feet

Toughen them up and get them used to being wet. Toenails do have a habit of being the first casualties so don’t get alarmed. Given the state of mine, my wife is happy when they fall off. They do grow back, which she’s not so pleased about.