Training: Uphill-Downhill Running

If the mountain won’t come to the runner, the runner must go to the mountain. Running uphill are a good way to way to increase your stamina and running performance.

Nob Hill district, San Francisco

Running hills is an acquired skill, and a little practice can give any runner the confidence to overcome a hill phobia and make peace with the dreaded incline. A consistent regimen of hill workouts goes far to build leg strength to reduce the possibility of injury hill training should be conducted once the athlete has a good solid base of strength and endurance. It also targets the backside, strengthening and toning the booty and the hamstrings. Hill training also strengthens the muscles around your knees, helping to reduce knee injuries.

Mt Faber 2009

The rather obvious benefit of hill workouts is that they make you better at running hills. Even better, you will see benefits on the flats, too. The muscle groups you use to overcome hills are virtually the same as those use for sprinting, so running on hills enhances speed by building strength. This strengthening effect by the fact that hill workouts help increase both the frequency and length of your stride — you get even faster.

Running on an incline is harder, even though pace is slower than on a flat surface. But that extra effort contributes to a more efficient workout. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that uphill running activates 9 percent more muscle each stride compared with exercising at the same relative intensity on level ground.

Hill training will only make you stronger. They break up the monotony of the flat. With the right way and the right amount of hill training your road racing performance on hilly terrain will improve immensely and one will love hills rather than hating them.

When running uphill take short/ small steps (baby steps) as if riding a bicycle in low gear. Use your arms in a straight back and forward and up motion to help lift your and legs. Concentrate on relaxing your upper body and particularly the back of your upper legs. Look where you are going and not down at your feet.


  • be in the same leaning forward position as on the flat course
  • run with shorter(baby) steps and a bit higher stride frequency
  • keep your body weight on the balls of the feet and pull the feet from the ground under the hips
  • get comfortable with the perception of shorter stride length and with the necessity to increase the stride frequency
  • try to not fall into temptation of starting to push off

During transitions strive to maintain your cadence and make a smooth but quick transition in your form and stride length as you go from uphill to downhill or as the slope changes. Anticipate the changes in terrain and change your form and stride length accordingly.

One of the many uphills during Sabah Adventure Challenge 2011

One of the many uphills during Sabah Adventure Challenge 2011

When Running downhill best if one Don’t hold back. Go for it! Lengthen out your stride to take advantage of the hill. Always landing on the balls of your feet with your knees bent and let your arms swing to the sides and across your body to help keep your balance and to rotate your hips to improve stride length. Focus on using the muscles in the backs of your legs to push you forward. Remember, you can go a lot faster than you think and still be under control.


Downhill from Sabah Adventure Challenge 2011

  • keep your body straight, just above the point of support on the ball of the foot as you do it on a flat surface, when you do the Running Pose in place
  • keep your feet strictly under the body and never extend them out or leave them behind

Some places in Singapore you can do hill training.

  • Bukit Timah Natural Reserve
  • Lorong Asmara
  • Dairy Farm
  • Mount Faber

Slightly off Singapore

  • Pulau Ubin – Ketam Mountain bike trail & Mamam Trail
  • Sentosa – Towards Merlion Hill

Cheers! (:

One thought on “Training: Uphill-Downhill Running

  1. Punggol Road going out to Punggol Point has 3 good uphills on the way out and 3 on the way back. Not all that high, but a good work out when you go up and down 6 times in less than a few kilometers

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