Wednesday, July 26, 2017

One New Hill of a Workout

The Beast is approaching. I can't believe it’s almost time! I have another workout for you to add to your training if you are looking to increase the power of your running stride and improve your performance! What is it?? Hill sprints, my friends!

 This intense and powerful training technique has so many benefits from increasing the oxidation of fat all the way to helping to prevent injuries on the course! Hill sprints increase the power and speed of your running stride. When you run up a hill, there is increased resistance and thereby an increased demand from the muscles used for running. The explosive movement comes from the hips and glutes. Remember the last blog post about the core muscles and its importance in performance? Well, the muscles you just mentioned are part of your core. Hill sprints are a total body work and the benefits of doing them are comparable to that of plyometric training. Finding a hill to run is going to be your first task. Take a ride around your neighborhood to find a hill that is about 40 yards long, if possible. The hill should be steep enough so it is difficult to walk climb. There is a perfect hill at Asbury Woods that I enjoy running if you can't find one close to your home! Hill sprints should be added in slowly to your workout regimen. Start with 1-2 times per week, and then after about 2 weeks, you can start doing them more frequently. Before you sprint, warm up with a one- to two-mile run. Dynamic stretches should be performed before and after sprinting, and a light jog home will keep the muscles loose and reduce soreness. 

When sprinting up the hill, land on the balls of your feet. I like to think “chest and nose before toes” while running. It increases the efficiency of my running form! Also, when doing hill sprints, start with 10 Sprints at 85-95% effort. The short spurts of intense work help to build neuromuscular connections in the body. Your rest period should be used when walking down the hill. If you need more time, take a little bit more, and then head back up the hill! The number of reps varies from how experienced you are in your running; aim for at least 5-8 sprints the first couple of weeks, and then gradually increase to a maximum of 20 sprints as you adapt to the challenge. If 20 sprints are easy, it’s time to pick a new hill with a steeper grade. And you are off! Have fun sprinting, people.  Remember, adding this to your workouts is going to benefit you tremendously! So, when the temptation to skip them is strong, remember the Beast is right around the corner. Do you know how we get to the finish line?! That’s one big hill! Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your runs!

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