Hill running is a tough and challenging exercise. Hitting a hill can not only delay your rhythm, but it will make it harder for you to retain your speed and can put immense strain on your body.
Hearing all that is enough to make you avoid hills for the rest of your life, but there are also huge benefits to incline training. For a start, running up hills will improve your muscle strength, quicken and expand your stride length and will help enhance your fitness and breathing. Running inclines regularly is a great form of resistance training that builds up the muscles in your calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes.
As the exercise is quite intense, you will start to see the benefits from running uphill very quickly. In fact, you can expect to see a significant improvement in your muscle strength and speed in under six weeks, dependent on how often you train.
If you are looking for an exercise which is going to boost your fitness quickly and tone you up, then hill running is probably for you. But just like most exercises, it is recommended that you build up to it first. Do not start sprinting up the steepest hill you can find, as not only will you find it too challenging, which may completely demotivate you, you might also be hurting your body.
If you are in doubt about whether you should start up hill interval training, then it is best to consult your GP or an exercise physiologist, who will be able to assess your fitness and recommend how much you should be pushing it to begin with.
The fitness experts at Bodytrack are dedicated to realising your fitness dream and designing a personalised program which will help you to meet all your individual targets. In order to help improve your health and performance, all exercise physiologists at Bodytrack use evidence based programs and closely monitored you to ensure you get the results you want.
Brisbane is well known for its varied terrain and steep hills, which is why runners who live here can choose from a variety of routes that are sure to incorporate a challenging hill. Here is a list of the top five hill runs in Brisbane:
5. Gower Street
With its 17.4 degree angle and 31% incline, Gower Street is by far one of the toughest roads to tackle across the city. This is probably a run that you would only want embark upon once you have a few incline runs under your belt. It might also be beneficial to start off on Gower Street before the rest of your run, as you might find you run out of energy and will not be able to finish.
The top of Gower Street is shorter, but steeper than some of the steepest stretches of the Pyrenees in France, so if you do manage to complete, it is a pretty magnificent feat!
4. Summit Track at Mount Coot-tha
Being a mountain, Mount Coot-tha will obviously have some challenging hills for you to climb. The Summit Track starts from the J.C. Slaughter Falls picnic area and carries on until you reach the Mt Coot-tha Lookout near the roundabout. The 1.9km run is steep over short sections and will take you through the beautiful open eucalypt forest. But the challenging run is completely worth it for the stunning views of the city, Moreton Bay and Stradbroke Island once you reach the lookout.
3. Mt Gravatt Lookout Hill Climb
This prominent hill in Brisbane has become a firm favourite with runners. In fact, it has sparked a little competition among some of its regulars who post their fastest hill climb online for others to try to beat. The 200 kilometre run starts on Tenby Street, before heading south on Logan Road and ending just before Mount Gravatt Central. The average gradient of the run is about 6.6%. So far the fastest run recorded is 4 minutes and 44 seconds.
2. The River Loop
For CBD workers, the River Loop is an ideal route, being so close by. Start your run from the Eagle Street Pier, run along the boardwalk towards Story Bridge and then head towards Kangaroo Point, making sure you hit Ellis Street, which according to Brisbane City Council is one of the steepest hills in Brisbane. With its 11.5 degree angle and 20% slope, we would be inclined to agree!
1. Mount Bartle Frere
The climb to the top can be extremely steep in some places and some people fail completely. You need to plot your route carefully before embarking upon Mount Bartle Frere as tourists have been known to get lost due to the dense forest and changing weather conditions. Starting from the Josephine Falls car park, the run is about 15km long and the vertical elevation gained is around 1,500 metres.
Remember, before starting any hill training, consult with a professional. Talk to Bodytrack to see what is involved with this.