A study completed by Derek Ferley, Phd, CSCS, shows that hill training, specifically running on a 10% incline, can improve the overall performance of long distance runners. The 6-week study involved 32 physically fit distance runners from the Sioux Falls area, 14 men and 18 women. The average age of participants was 27 years. Each group had a dozen participants running intervals on a treadmill twice a week, one on a 10% incline for 30 seconds and the other on a level grade for an average of 2 minutes and 16 seconds.

Every 2 weeks the number of intervals increased by two for the incline group and one for the level grade group. The eight runners in the control group did not run intervals. Ferley explains that two parameters were used to assess the performance of the runners. Using running economy determined by measuring oxygen consumption while running at submaximal speeds, both experimental groups improved to the same extent, according to a news report from Science Daily.

However, Ferley notes, “The level grade group improved even more than the inclined grade group,” which provides what he called “a great springboard for doing additional studies.”

The Science Daily news report notes that all tests to determine fitness levels for the study were conducted on a level grade, he pointed out, and if he had included some testing on an incline, he speculates that there might have been differences between the two experimental groups.

Photo Appears Courtesy of South Dakota State University

Source: Science Daily