If you’re a novice city runner, it can be pretty uninspiring when you first take to the pavements. Decking yourself out in your newly acquired running gear and heading out for that long intensive run, only to find yourself bent double and gasping for breath ten minutes in, is enough to make you think that running isn’t for you.
Don’t despair straight away. If you’re new to running, you shouldn’t expect to cover long distances right away. Your body isn’t accustomed to being put under such exertion, so it’s important to take things slow and prepare your body for the challenges ahead.
One of the most effective ways of doing this is hill walking. Take a look at our concise guide to find out why this could be the perfect running preparation for you!
Why you should try hill walking
Hill walking might feel less strenuous than an intensive run, but it’s an effective tool for building muscle, developing stamina and improving general fitness.
Unlike those frustrating, breathless runs in the park, you could spend hours hill walking. This is all effective training that will enable you to push yourself further when you put your running shoes back on.
When walking uphill, you will feel your calves and quads working harder. Walking back down the hill is an equally effective workout, as your muscle contract to control your speed. What’s more, this exercise prepares your body, particularly your knees and hip joints, for the pressures of running.
What you’ll need
It’s advisable to alter the clothing that you wear when you go hill walking. Running shoes may offer cushioning to protect your feet and legs from the impact of each stride, but they fail to provide adequate ankle support. Take a look at this selection of walking-boots from Cotswold Outdoor; the footwear in their range is intended for covering mountainous terrain and boasts this essential supportive quality.
Even though this guide proposes hill walking as a training tool for novice runners, it’s also great for runners of all levels; when winter conditions make running unsafe, hill walking is an effective way of getting a workout and maintaining your fitness levels.
While you might assume that you should dress warmer for walking than you would running, it’s important that you don’t underestimate how much your body heat will soar as you’re walking. Piling on the layers will make you comfortable at first, but as you pick up the pace you’ll quickly feel hot and uncomfortable. Something like this lightweight waterproof jacket by The North Face – also available to buy online from Cotswold – is more than enough to keep out the winter chills and protect you from surprise showers.
How to incorporate it with your running training
It’s possible to incorporate your new found love for scaling hills and peaks into your more strenuous running schedule. As well as a basic training structure, why not take some inspiration from our guide to hill training, which combines regular jogging and challenging terrain. If you’ve used hill walking to prepare yourself for running, your body is already on its way to developing muscles that will help you to tackle any hilly terrain you may meet when you’re out running.