Looking to get more out of your running? Even if you’re waiting for the finer weather to arrive and you’re getting your jogs or marathon training in on a treadmill, the simple switch of a button can turn on a load of benefits that you might have been missing out on. The answer is to add an incline to your flat runs. What’s to gain? Just a few things:
Feel The Burn
Calorie burning is one of the main reasons running is many a person’s one stop shop for cardiovascular training. For a healthy heart and helping with fat loss, regular running – or less regular high-intensity interval running – are hard to beat. But when it comes to burning calories, with a mere five percent incline you can burn off almost 100 calories more than when you’re running flat.
This is done for you with a push of a button on a treadmill, but when running outside you only need to find slightly steeper routes; even when road running you’ll probably find the average street isn’t quite as flat as you’d thought.
Uphill running puts more muscle fibres to work. You’ll know why this is a positive from weight lifting and resistance training. The more muscle fibres you can reach, the more strength you can develop.
Flat and down hill runs will mean that your weight is shifted and felt more in your shins than the meaty supporting calf muscles, quads, hamstrings and glutes that are used to propel you forward when running uphill.
The same can be said for your joints, with your knees feeling more strain on a flat or declining surface than is felt in you posterior muscles. Uphill running is, therefore, a perfect option for anyone looking to work those rear muscles and avoid excessive strain to your shins and knees.
If anyone ever said to you that there’s a hard or easy road to health and fitness when it comes to running, incline training is the harder road that will see you reach your strength and endurance goals a lot sooner (for the same length of running per session).
By regularly running uphill, you’ll find your previous flat runs comparatively easy. As the incline will require more effort and put your muscles harder to work, they will be able to last a lot longer on the flats.
As well as building your stamina, because of the extra workout to your leg muscles, this will help increase your speed. The same can be said for downhill running as this will build your quads.
How Much Of An Incline Do You Need?
Studies have revealed that you should set your treadmill to a minimum of one percent to match the incline of outdoor running – another plus for jogging outside. If you’re training for an outdoor run, i.e. a marathon, you should aim for a one-two percent incline to match the roads you’ll be racing on.
That said, an incline of more than seven percent can put too much burden on your lower back and hips, which is sure to cut short a pleasant run and turn it into a long term problem.
When it comes to a treadmill or outdoor running, let’s not forget the natural interval that running outside will bring, with varied inclines, flats and declines. Add to that the natural wind resistance, and you’ll easily trump treadmills for resistance training and calorie burning.