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June 12, 2020

There's no denying that a great big hill or mountain can turn what would otherwise be a pretty average trail into an exhilarating (and exhausting) thing of beauty. But with those added views comes an added challenge.

Simply put hills are hard work. It doesn't matter whether your racing or training, a tough uphill section can make or break your run, so we asked mountain mogul and winner of the Glencoe Vertical Kilometer, Zak Hanna for a little bit of advice. 

Listen to the full podcast with Zak Hanna here 

1. Build a Base

Strong legs make short work of steep inclines, so start building up your leg strength. There are hundreds of ways to get stronger, Zak was a high level cyclist before turning his attention to running and the years in the saddle definitely helped his uphill prowess. If bikes aren't your thing however, don't worry squats, deadlifts and lunges will all make you stronger and faster to boot. 

2. Consistency 

You won't get your mountain legs with just a single session or even several. If you are serious about improving, hill work has to be something that you make a permanent part of your routine at least once a week. You don't have to move to the Highlands or the Lakes, just find (no matter how small) and incorporate some incline work into your weekly runs.  

Have you tried our Jaffa Cake Protein Bars?

3. Train the Terrain 

It's one thing being able to fly up a steep winding tarmacked road and quite another to be able to do the same while scrambling up slippy rocks and hopping over exposed tree roots. If you are preparing for a race, find terrain that matches race conditions as best as possible or even better get a few recce sessions on the course itself. Otherwise just try and vary what's underfoot as much as possible, run on sand, rock, mud, grass, ice concrete and anything else you can think of!

Don't live near the hills here are 8 Simple ways to train for running hills - without the hills