Monday, March 16, 2009

Is Hill Training Really Needed?

This is the elevation profile of the New Jersey Marathon. Throughout my training cycle, I've been asking myself if it's necessary to train on hills if the marathon course is so flat. Up until now, I have been pretty good about running on the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges at least once a week and try to incorporate some hills into my long runs. I had a great long run yesterday in Saddle River County Park which has a very similar elevation profile to the NJ Marathon.

So my question to my faithful readers is this: how important is hill training for a race that has no hills? Please comment.

4 comments:

Cowboy Hazel said...

I'd say yes for a couple reasons: First, going uphill is a great chance to really push yourself without having high impact on your joints. Second, the downhill will help build your quads (which is what always gives me grief in long runs).

DailyRunner said...

I've read that hill running is really speed training in disguise. I think it really helps us to develop overall body running strength and form. I like it because uphill running is softer on my body, and I generally take it really on the downhills to minimize the jarring.

Simon Lewis said...

Hill training is excellent for speed and strength. As Cowboy and Daily have said, going up is a great low impact session. I didn't do any hills for my first couple of goes at a marathon because London is flat but my Dad had done the exact same training program but in Devon which is hilly. He was so much stronger than me in the last 6 miles of the race. So yes, do hills.

rundangerously said...

absolutely positively get up those hills in training - even if you're planning to tackle a course w/out hills. some benefits: disguised speed work, strength and endurance work and, last but not least, the decided mental boost when you crest it :D then, hopefully, you get to run the downhill :D