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How to get in hill shape when you live somewhere flat

How to get in hill shape when you live somewhere flat.I’m training for the New York City Marathon. Every NYCM veteran I’ve talked to has given me the same advice “make sure you do hill workouts”.

This response always makes me chuckle. I live in the upstate of South Carolina and it’s nearly impossible for me to go out for a run without encountering a major hill… or ten. I haven’t always lived here, though. I grew up on the Jersey shore where, as you’ve probably guessed, the terrain is pancake flat. But that didn’t stop me from running hilly races.

Here’s how to train for hills when there aren’t any around:

Create your own hills on the treadmill. Take your workout indoors to the treadmill and crank up the incline level. Switch up the incline throughout your workout and include declines, if possible, to mimic outside conditions.

Find one hill and do repeatsEven the flattest areas have some hills if you look close enough – highway overpasses, bridges, your neighbor’s driveway. Locate one of these inclines and do hill repeats. Don’t forget to run down the hill, too. This will help toughen up the muscles that aren’t used during flat or uphill runs.

Do stairs. Head to a local high school football stadium, and run up the stairs of the bleachers. Doing “stadiums” won’t simulate a hill workout exactly, but the elevation gain will stress your cardiovascular system similar to a hill workout. In other words, adding stair repeats to your workout rotation will make you fitter.

Run on a trail, the beach, through snow, or into the wind. Running in thick mud, loose sand, deep snow, or a strong headwind will slow you down significantly. Do workouts in these conditions regularly and you’ll improve your ability to run on a flat road. Running in any condition that slows down your speed will make you stronger, much like hills.

Pump iron. Running hills strengthens your hips, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. Doing strength training moves that target these muscle groups will also make them stronger. Do this strength training circuit a couple of times each week. Go through the entire workout 2-3 times:

Check out these articles to learn about the benefits of running hills and tips to run hills more effectively.

Written by Jen Matz.