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With only a month to go until the HBF Run for a Reason, you might think your training for the 14km course is right on track: you've managed to get in a few 10km or 12km runs and you've committed to running up to four times a week.

But hitting the pavement on the flat is not the only training you should be doing as part of your weekly runs.

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Uphill training is a vital part of almost any running program, whether you're preparing for the 14km event or even a marathon, according to Timothy Fairchild, senior lecturer in sports science at Murdoch University.

"The primary purpose of this type of running is to increase strength in your legs," he said.

"Uphill running is a type of resisted training technique. Resisted training is a form of training where we are creating an impediment to the training or making the training more difficult in some way. Think here about running in the sand, running uphill, running whilst pulling some type of resistance, such as a tyre, behind you."

Mr Fairchild said there were a few points to consider before you got started.

Firstly, he said hill training could be thought of as "finetuning" in that it could be both a vital component in training for the advanced runner and an important component for anyone who ran on a regular basis and felt like they were hitting a plateau.

But if you were new to the running scene and were working towards improving your fitness by upping your running distances each week, Mr Fairchild said a hill training program might not yet be necessary.

"For these individuals it may be more important to simply choose a training run which incorporates one or two hills as part of the run," he said.

If you slotted into the category of an experienced or regular runner, Mr Fairchild said hill training could be incorporated at any stage of a running program.

"I would consider a general rule of thumb to be if you are already incorporating some form of interval training into your program then you are probably ready to start incorporating some hill training," he said.

With this in mind, he said it was worth doing a 30 to 40-minute session of uphill interval running. For example, you could do between six to eight repetitions of 10 to 30-second uphill runs, four to six reps of 30 to 60-second runs, and one to four reps of runs over 90 seconds.

But he said to keep in mind that the downhill component could be taxing on the joints so it was best to use this time as your recovery period.

Lastly, how often should you be adding an uphill run to your weekly training?

"Typically, we would only do one hill training session per week," he said.

The West Australian

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