"Putting Evidence Back Into
Running Injury and Performance"

Hill Sprints for Novice Runners

by | In Depth Articles

For those relatively new to regular running, the notion of introducing maximal effort hill sprints is often met with concern over the possibility of over-training and encouraging injury. And yet, including one or two weekly hill sprint sessions into your training may well be safer than just knocking out long distances on flat ground.

The strength training stimulus that hill sprints provide is thought to play a major role in improving performance and may even reduce susceptibility to injury. Hill sprints can increase the power and efficiency of your stride, enabling you to cover more ground with each stride using less energy.

Hill Sprints for Neuromuscular Fitness

In the article Half Marathon Preparation, we looked at the importance of including different types of runs to your training in order to improve pace. We noted that running fitness has three components which although inter-related are stimulated by different types of training: Aerobic Fitness, Neuromuscular Fitness and Specific Endurance.

Hill sprints are an example of a type of training that enhances neuromuscular fitness, in other words communication between the brain and the muscles. Working at maximal or near-maximal levels challenges the nervous system to activate huge numbers of motor units and fire them quick enough to generate high force whilst resisting fatigue. Stride frequency, stride length and resistance to fatigue all depend on the efficiency of communication between the brain and muscles, and are all vital for production of optimum power, efficiency and resistance to fatigue.

Though long runs are important for developing aerobic fitness, without sufficient neuromuscular fitness form can deteriorate, inefficiency and fatigue set in, all of which are often associated with injury.

Hill sprints allow you to push your body and generate high leg turnover (cadence) without actually running that fast. This is of great significance as maximum speed work on flat ground is often associated with injury such as hamstring strains. Running uphill is also thought to stimulate form improvement by imposing demands that flat running does not.

> > > > end of free content 

Want to Continue Reading?
For full access to articles, please support the site by signing up for a monthly or annual membership.
If you are already a member, sign in below. You can see the options to become a premium member by clicking HERE.


Submit a Comment

Related Posts

Natural Equals Good – Logical Fallacy

Natural Equals Good – Logical Fallacy

A logical fallacy is something used in discussion / argument / marketing that sounds supportive but is actually based on a misassumption. For example, assuming something /someone must be good because it’s been around for many years is called an ‘appeal to antiquity’. They are worth recognising as soft tissue discussions are full of them.

read more
How Can Massage Help Runners?

How Can Massage Help Runners?

Some runners swear by it, others say it’s a waste of money. The fact that most elite runners have regular massage suggests there must be something in it, but how valuable a tool is it for recreational runners? Is there any evidence it reduces injury or increases performance? Let’s take a look…

read more
How to Breathe when Running

How to Breathe when Running

The question of ‘how to breathe when running’ is one that many runners find themselves pondering, especially those new to running or starting to experiment with more intense sessions like sprint or hill intervals. Should we breathe through the mouth or nose? Is there a particular rhythm or technique we should be using?

read more