Running Uphill feels easier?

Hello all,

I know this isn't really anything to complain about, but I'm curious as to why I seem to find running on undulating ground a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable than running on the flat. I always get tight, achey shins and calves and feel generally heavier and less energetic when running on level ground. Surely, logically, training on hills regularly should make running on the flat easier?

I've always trained on hilly routes, so is it possible that the muscles involved in pushing me uphill are overtrained compared to my other leg muscles? Perhaps it's just boredom exaggerating the difficulty of the flat?

Any ideas much appreciated, I've got my eye on a fairly flat 10k near me this summer image



  • Maybe because running on the flat means we use the same muscles/movements extremely repetitatively that you find the variation of different muslces involved with hills easier to maintain?

    Other than that, I dunno; I run a lot of hills (I live in a hilly area), but I can't say I find them exactly easy.

  • I like hills too. I suppose the thing is that it is harder on the up but quite easy on the down so that, after the race, you will remember half of it as easy as opposed to none of it being easy if you were pushing on a flat course.

    Of course it could go the other way if you remember half of the hilly run as hard going whereas none of the flat course was really hard going.


  • im with you. although I feel we are not the norm. i wish i could improve my downhill running because people always fly past me. although I do catch them on the uphills.

  • all my pb's have been set on hilly courses, its working different muscles i guess, when i power up a hill it gives my legs a rest in the areas that i was using to run lat it seems. the Coventry half Marathon is 6 miles up hill then back again, it feels like 2x 10k's to my legs. 

  • Bunch of nutters!

    These days I like my road courses super fast and flat, and even the smallest incline feels like a time killer!

    Marc, have you actually done any flat courses in the same time?

    I can't believe you'd be faster on a proper hilly course versus a super flat one. Unless you simply switch off and get bored.

  • ive ran flatter courses and set similar times, (quite a bit faster than my training runs) but my pb was set on a very hilly course (all be it only by 30 seconds or so), my uphill miles were faster than i train at and consistant with the average pace for the whole race. i always run a lot faster on race day, so i dunno, on a flat course on the same day perhaps i'd have gone even faster, its probably just coincidence, i'm far from a vet, so i dont have a vast amount of races to compare it to. 

    i do enjoy running hilly courses more though, i find it motivating powering up big hills, especially as many people around me grind to a walk.


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