Ultimate Conditioning: The Benefits of Hill Running
I grew up in the late 70’s and 80’s. I have been an athlete my entire life and have loved football for as far back as I can remember. One of my favorite training stories from the mainstream media as a kid was the hill that legendary running back Walter Payton used to condition himself in the off season. Look anywhere on the internet and you can find stories of Walter’s out of this world conditioning, how he would bring athletes from all sports to train with him, and how they would all ultimately tap out from exhaustion. He’s one of the NFL’s most prolific runners, arguably one of the greatest of all time, and the hill was his secret.
I’ve been coaching for almost twenty years now, and if I’m being honest, I will admit that I am obsessed with hill running. I have Walter to thank for this, and since speed is the ultimate goal in all of my programs, hills (or stairs for those of you who don’t have a suitable hill close by) is an absolute must in any speed or conditioning program. I’ve spent the bulk of my career split between Cal Poly and San Jose State and both places have significant hill/stadium inclines that are perfect for hammering my athletes.