The mere sight of a hill on a run might remind you of the burn and the sting in your legs. Fear not! Hills are only scary in your first encounters with them; they are actually fantastic opportunities to build strength and speed, particularly compared to flat trails. Your body will be more capable of intense effort and your legs more explosive than ever before. Embrace the hills!

If you want to become faster and stronger, hills might be just what you need. Incorporating hill reps into your workouts has many advantages: stronger legs, better endurance, and more overall strength.

The increased demand for intensity and effort on hills reinforces your cardiovascular capacity. Be careful, with the heightened efforts comes longer rest. In order to avoid injuries, do not add more than one or two hill sessions per week to your calendar (at least at first – mostly depending on your level).

It’s not easy to run on hills when you’re used to flat runs – so how can you improve progressively

Level 1: Gentle

Start by integrating one or two short hill reps – not too fast or steep – into your usual jogs, in order to familiarize yourself with the height difference. Don’t focus on your speed, and focus on how you feel. It’s entirely normal to be more out of breath than usual.

After a while, do you feel comfortable with the height difference? Congratulations, you can continue onto the next level, featuring hill-specific work outs

Level 2: Longer Hills

First, warm up properly (at least 15 minutes of jogging and 10 minutes of moderate pace).

Choose one hill sufficiently long to tackle for one minute of moderate pace. Once at the summit, descend with a slow and gentle pace. 3-8 repetitions will constitute the bulk of the run.

Finish with a calm and flat warm down.

Level 3: Intense Hills

Warm up: 15-30 minutes of running and 20 minutes of moderate running.

Follow with a short but steep hill: 5 short repetitions (10-20 seconds) of sprints with 90-95% of all your effort. The short hill sprints will demand all of your energy and coordination. For something a little more relaxed, run for longer but slower.

Be sure to hydrate before, after, and during the entire work out: intense hill training is very taxing on the body. 

That is it – you did it! Congratulations on conquering hills! You should soon feel the sweet reward of hill work outs during your next flat run. For more motivation and conquering your next challenge with other runners, create a session on!

The following two tabs change content below.

Urban Challenge