Hidden Benefits of Running Hills

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Hills are a challenge for most runners, yet there is a secret that each hill holds. Hills push your limits as a runner and create a newfound appreciation for flat ground. Hills encourage your mind and body to overcome any obstacle that will bring you to a healthier mindset, and a stronger body.

Dare yourself to achieve the impossible, and learn the hidden benefits of running hills.


Hill workouts are designed to help your body build endurance and keep your mind acutely aware of your body and the movement against gravity. By including hills in your running routine, you will be able to reap the benefits to defeat your latest personal record.

Builds Muscular Strength


Running hills builds muscular strength that dare you to be a powerful runner. As you press your feet against the weight of gravity, your body activates your tendons, joints, muscles, and bones to synchronize in movement that boosts your body's power.

With resistance and control, you can teach your body to respond quicker to demands and be well prepared for a race that has challenging hills. Subtly building more muscular strength through hills will make running on flat ground feel like a breeze.

Going up a hill will slow down your pace about 12-15 seconds per mile, but going downhill will increase your time by 8 seconds. It is suggested to begin training on a 3% grade hill to teach yourself to keep your movement properly aligned and engaging your muscles for maximum strength building.

Improves Overall Endurance

Running hills improves your overall endurance as a runner. Running downhill puts more impact on your body, but it teaches you how to control your body's movement. Your lower muscles activate as you propel your body forward against gravity. Through focusing on your core and keeping your body balanced upright, you can control your movements, which will maximize your capacity as a runner.

In turn it creates a stamina that will stay with you through any challenging race. While others are huffing slowly, you can lift your gaze up as you reach the top of a hill with ease. Improving your endurance allows for you to achieve your goals and inspire others along the way.


Glute Power

If you have been waiting for the perfect glute workout, look no further than a dynamic hill routine. Your glute muscle fibres activate 10% more when running uphill, while your quad activates 25% more muscle fibres.

Strengthening your glutes and quads boosts your power as a runner. Strong glutes also help your lower back muscles that contribute to proper form.

Not only does hill running boost your glute power, but it also teaches your body to channel power when pushing the limit during a race or workout. Hills help you achieve a strong core, empowered quads, and powerful glutes for a strong body that keeps you from injury.

Speed Agility

Dr Bengt Saltin's research revealed that those who frequently did hill workouts had more aerobic enzymes that help the body feel less fatigued. Hills help you lift your knees and lengthen your stride for faster neuromuscular response. When your muscles fast twitch fibres respond quickly to your brains demands, you will be able to boost your time and achieve your speed goals.

Running uphill may seem slow at times, but as you cruise downhill and activate each part of your body, you are creating speed control. As you learn more to activate your muscles quickly during hill workouts, you can keep yourself well paced during a race but have the secret of a power boost for the last leg of a race.

Boosts Confidence

When you reach the top of the hill in victory, let your body swell with pride and personal achievement. For many, hills can seem an impossible thing to conquer, but runners know better. Defeat all odds and push the limit of your capacity to achieve a stronger body, and a stronger mind.

When you exert yourself and achieve well, then you can face any challenge in life. Fill your mind with confidence that you can achieve and turn your gaze to a new goal. Whether it is little hills, or conquering the endurance of a mountain, you are more than capable of achieving.


Hills help you mentally conquer any obstacle during a race, and in the real world. Rather than viewing the hill as an impossible obstacle that will drain your energy, view it as a chance to overcome. Each time you face a hill, the easier it will become over time.

Hills have their secrets, but when you can channel the strength and agility you learned while running hills, then you can conquer any new goal.

Bethany Widdicombe

Bethany Widdicombe

Bethany Widdicombe is a runner at heart, a researcher by nature, and a writer by passion. Having traveled across the world, she continues to be an advocate for awareness and knowledge that empowers people to a better life. You can now find her running out on the trail, or nestled away writing her next article.

Portland, OR