How to recover from hills

By Hayden Shearman

A hill session cranks up a couple of key training stress dials. And, as we all know, we should recover as hard as we train, so how in particular should we recover from a challenging hill session?

  1. Easy, flat active recovery running. After a demanding hill session you’ll want to switch the focus of your running for the following few days to active recovery, as opposed to training. So keep the running you do nice and easy and on the flat, aiming to promote blood flow and maintain movement.


  1. Stretch that posterior chain. When running uphill, the muscles on the back of our legs getting worked the most: hammies, glutes, calves. These will want to tighten up over the coming days, so try to maintain your range of motion with some mild but targeted stretching of those areas.


  1. Protein! We need to build and repair muscle tissue after a tough hill session, so our bodies are crying out for protein. Take a look at your typical meal proportions and look to increase that protein portion to account for the wear and tear your body has been through.


  1. Reduce overall mileage. When we turn up one training stress dial, we need to look at turning down some other dials. A hill rep sessions dials up the muscular stress and intensity dials, so it makes that the easiest dial to pull back is your overall mileage (i.e. just run a little less than normal for that week that includes a particularly tough hill session.


  1. Intentional recovery. Some times our bodies need some prompting to chill out and go into recovery mode. Every athlete has their favourite intentional recovery modalities, and I’d encourage you to discover what works for you. Try foam rolling, yoga, massage, massage guns, compression tights, hot tubs, ice baths, putting your legs up the wall while watching your favourite Netflix shows—the world of recovery is your oyster!