Flatlanders Can Create Hills
Distance runners across the world take to the roads each fall for road races of every distance on every type of course. For runners who live in hilly areas, finding flat courses is generally a short drive away. For folks from the coastal plains or northern Midwest, a.k.a. "flatlanders," finding hills can be a bit more challenging.
1. Bridges for Beach Runners
Runners in states such as Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana often look to bridges when looking for hill work. Longtime Jacksonville, Florida, resident and marathon runner Rick Patterson says that he and other local Jacksonville runners regularly head to the city's multiple bridges when looking to work on power and extension, which hills provide. "We live in a city without a lot of natural undulations," Patterson says, "So here in Jacksonville, we head to the bridges for every type of hill workout, both long and short." Bridges will provide virtually every benefit of natural hills: increased toe off and extension, as well as prime mover engagement from the gluteus to the plantar.
2. Treadmills to the Rescue Again
In the absence of natural rolling hills, treadmills are once again an excellent way to create any type of hill you wish, from long, sustained hills for tempo and strength, to shorter and steeper hills for power and explosiveness. Additionally, treadmills can be programmed or manually manipulated to mimic virtually any type of course, from more subtle rolling hills to tougher steeper drives.