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hilly runs

Running on hills effectively combines strength work and running into one workout as the incline (or decline) increases the load on the body. Hill running also improves form as it encourages a higher knee lift and faster turnover rate of the feet (cadence). 

When running uphill focus on driving your arms back and looking ahead. If hills are in a race setting make sure to adjust your pace with the incline - charging up a steep hill mid-race will only leave you struggling for the remainder.

Downhill running is also valuable. When running downhill focus on staying upright, or even leaning very slightly forwards. Running downhill causes the muscles in the legs to contract against the force of the hill leaving small micro-tears in the muscle. The muscle recovers from this and the micro-tears lead to growth of the muscle, but the almost-immediate effect is feeling sore. This emphasises the importance of controlling your pace downhill during a race to avoid excess muscle fatigue later on in the race.


For each session below, allow 2 mins rest between each rep, i.e. by walking back down. I've provided examples of the incline I use but find what works for you. Increase the distance/incline as you get fitter and stronger. 


hilly ideas



I use a hill that's a 23m ascent over 160m. 

- 3 x 15 seconds uphill, 3 x 30 seconds, 3 x 45 seconds uphill

- 8 x uphill sprints

- 5 x uphill sprints, 5 x 100m strides, 5 x uphill sprints 



I use a hill that's a 30m ascent over 320m. 

- Run up for 10 seconds, walk down. Then repeat for 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 25 sec, 20 sec, 15 sec, 10 sec. 


Heavy Leg Hill Reps:

I use a hill that's a 23m ascent over 160m. 

- Squat session + 8 x uphill sprints 

- 5 mile easy + 8 x uphill sprints + 5 mile easy

- 14 mile easy + 6 x uphill sprints 

Long & Steady:

I use a hill that's a 31m ascent over 500m. 

- 6 x uphill reps at 80% effort

- 8 x uphill reps at 70% effort for the first three quarters, 85% effort for the last quarter

- 8 x uphill reps, each rep faster than the last

- 10 x uphill reps, easy continuous pace up and down (no rest) 

- 4 x 1 min up, 4 x 2 min up, 4 x 1min up 

- Loops:

Find a loop (approx 1km) that has an uphill and a downhill. Run the flat and uphill sections at a steady pace, but increase effort to around 80% on the downhill sections. Recover along the flat sections rather than stopping for rest.

- Verticals:

Find a moderately steep hill (i.e. 23m elevation over 160m). Run up at a comfortable pace and run down at 80-85% effort. Repeat 8 times.


Session Plans
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