Readers respond: Is running on a hill better than running on the flat? | life and style

IIs it better to run on an incline than to run on the flat? Or is the descent easier counteracting the ascent? How about running down a hill and then up, when you’re already tired? Steve Henderson, Wythenshawe

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Readers Respond

A sample of 10,000. That’s a lot, it should be enough to get a reasonable result.

“Hello, yes, could I have a word with the tall old Duke of York please? masons option

I think the days of being called “big” are over these days. asparagusnextleft

Tip: take off your shoes and throw them in the lake, and you can run uphill without a problem. (Although Ron from Sparks thinks you should have known.) Mobilepape

Mr. Henderson’s question is something a lot of runners have wondered about. I wrote a scientific paper on the subject, combining treadmill data with running data: From Treadmill to Trails: Predicting Runner Performance. For the relatively small hills that most runners spend most of their time running on, the uphills and downhills are about to cancel each other out. However, on very steep mountain trails, people are not efficient enough to run downhill to compensate for the climbing. I wrote a open source web application which will make a calculation for your GPS track. Ben Crowell

In my case, a 66-year-old man with total knee replacement, running uphill is the only easy way to do cardio besides cycling. I can’t subject my new knee to too much impact or it will wear out prematurely. When I run uphill, I have much less impact because the ground in front of me is higher than the ground I’m on. Also, with more effort, I reach my desired cardio level faster and end up taking fewer steps. All Dene

I recently tripped down a hill, broke both bones in my arm, and ended up in emergency surgery to put a metal plate in my arm. From my experience, I’m going to say that running down a hill is not good for you! Georgia Willox Dunant

Offers for Michael Moseley briefly with this problem here. Alain Coady

How strange, I was just thinking about that. As someone who suffered a knee injury this year, I can tell you that running downhill is much harder on your knees than running uphill – it’s the constant downhill braking that kills your knees . In the immediate future, all my training will be uphill. PtolemyHanshaw3

Yes, as anyone who has hiked hills will tell you knee pain going down is worse than muscle pain going up. Over time, this type of trauma will lead to surgery, and running places tremendous forces on tendons and joints. To avoid. nancyjt

The descent is particularly effective in highlighting anterior knee problems. Cuthberto

We have a fast, flat parkrun course that I usually do in about 23 minutes. There’s also one where you go up a steep hill and back down – I can’t go below 26 minutes on that. Still, on the latter, I will sweat more and feel a bigger difference in my legs afterwards. PeteTheBeat

Homo sapiens developed as endurance hunters, we are built to be able to walk effectively on the flat all day. Obviously, running uphill is harder work than running on the flat just on the old Newtonian weight x vertical distance moved. However, running downhill is not just rest, it requires effort, in particular an eccentric contraction of the quadriceps as a kind of shock absorber, to prevent us from “running away” down the slope, as well as contributions from other muscles recruited in an unusual biomechanical pattern. , as anyone who has ever endured the dreaded Doms after a day in the hills can attest. So yes, run and descents require more effort than running on the flat. Whether it’s “better” brings us to the question of joints. Everything in moderation. Alarm

One thing I know. When you get into your mid-70s, if you don’t go up a hill for a while and then go up a steep incline, your hips feel like they’re going to fall off your body. Busch

I’m not sure about the science etc, but as a regular runner, and I’m sure any other runner would agree, running uphill is definitely a lot harder than running flat . If you’re used to running on hills and then running on a completely flat course, that hardly feels like a workout, so I don’t know why anyone would think running on flats is the same as running on a course hilly. james187

If running flat isn’t training, you’re not running fast enough! change9

Running on hills will make you fitter and flats effortless. I can run almost effortlessly up steep hills that leave most walkers and others panting and sweating; I feel like I can run indefinitely on flat ground. In fact, because I run in very hilly terrain every day, I find long flats boring. Even at full speed, flats just aren’t a challenge. I like the variety of extreme trail running. SueBBlue

Since the goal of exercise is to get your heart rate up, running uphill is more beneficial to you than running on the flat because your heart needs to work harder. That being said, running both uphill and downhill can take a toll on your knees (as I find now in my 50s). DrJWCC

Running downhill is actually harder on the body than running flat. This forces the leg muscles to stretch further during negative reps, making them more painful and the impact of each step is greater, which can jerk the whole body more and cause stitches or pain abdominal. The natural instinct is also to lean back to avoid the risk of tipping the head over the heels, which leads to more heel strike, resulting in less efficiency and even more jerking. The best advice for running downhill is to lean into the incline and go as fast as you can, which can sometimes feel scary if it’s a long descent.

All of this means that hill running is much harder on the body than flat running. This will definitely make you fitter and stronger than running flat, but comes with an increased risk of injury. A good recommendation is to mix the two. FesLerdinand

In South Africa, it is an annual endurance race, called Comrades. It’s a 90 km race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban – for the crazy ones. In even years, it runs between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. In odd years, it’s the other way around. Descending to Durban by sea is considered more difficult than ascending to Pietermaritzburg in the mountains due to leg fatigue. I don’t know if that’s true, because I still have my sanity and wouldn’t consider trying it! Squeaky squirrel

The records for both directions are quite interesting.

The record for the “uphill” race (87 km) is 5h24min 39sec.
The record for the descent (90.2 km) is 5h18min 19sec.

So about six minutes faster to go 3km further. Look at a map showing gradientsI expected the “low” to be considerably faster. Troy_McClure

Always run uphill, never downhill. Give it a few weeks and you’ll be amazed at your level of fitness. luce83

Sooner or later you will run out of hill to climb, and at that point you will have to come down, or just stay on top of the hill forever. MonsterX

Running uphill definitely improves your strength and fitness, but the incline naturally forces you to take shorter strides than you would on the flat, so keep running on relatively flat routes for the majority of your weekly distance to keep your shape healthy.

Many people here rightly say that running downhill puts a lot of strain on the joints and ligaments. However, sinking a soft The decline is a useful practice for speed because it gets your body used to a longer stride. Don’t do it too often and don’t go too steep like crazy. You should still be able to land in the midfoot. If you have to land on your heels so you don’t totally lose control, you’re putting a lot of strain on your knees and you’ll probably regret it. fisheye

Whether or not this is better for you depends on your goal. But going up and then down is definitely harder work.

When you run uphill, you gain potential energy as you work harder to overcome gravity. But when you’re running downhill, you’re not able to use much of that potential energy you’ve stored up, because you always have to keep your balance and control your speed. So overall you expend more energy running, say, 1km uphill then 1km downhill than if you were running 2km on the flat. And it’s injury-free, which a lot of people have been talking about.

For comparison, if you were to cycle up a hill for 1 km and then coast down for 1 km, there would be much less difference in overall energy consumption compared to cycling for 2 km on the dish. This is because a lot of the potential energy you store when going up the hill can be used going down the hill, and the bike has low friction. You won’t quite recover all the energy because the resistance of the wind opposes you (consumes energy) no matter which direction you go. Brand_MK

Some people run for fun, others for exercise.
I will stick to running away from predators, as nature intended. Sotired42

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