What the Hell is a Hill Run? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

What the Hell is a Hill Run?

Hill running may seem daunting, but it has its health advantages.

Hill running may seem daunting, but it has its health advantages. Photo by Courtesy Meredith Sullivan


Though the route (top photo) isn’t long, the elevation change (bottom) is what makes hill climbs on Old Canton Road a challenging workout.

If you have driven up or down Old Canton Road between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays, you have probably encountered an ever-increasing group of people running to the top of the hill, doing some type of plyometric exercise and running back down to do it all over again. This group has become known as the Fondren Hill Runners and consists of both novice and experienced runners from all over the Jackson metro area. The group started with four Fondrenites back in 2011 and now attracts up to 60 runners each meet, all looking to increase both their speed and endurance, while also getting to socialize with like-minded individuals.

Here are five key benefits of running hills:

  1. They are challenging regardless of your fitness level or running experience and will make you mentally tougher which comes in handy on race day.
  2. Hill runs build strength in your hips and upper and lower legs the same way that strength-training exercises do, but they do it in a functional way in which the muscles have to interact together instead of in isolation in the gym.
  3. Running hills is an excellent form of interval training because it elevates your heart rate quickly, strengthening your cardiovascular system and increasing your running economy.
  4. They are a great way to train without putting in excessive mileage, which can decrease wear and tear on your joints and can save you time in your busy schedule.
  5. They get results fast! If you are looking to shave time off your per-mile pace, there is no better way than running hills on a consistent basis.

Terry Sullivan is the co-owner of live-RIGHTnow and one of the founding members of Jackson's hill running crew.

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