How to Run Hill Repeats

Hill repeat workouts and how to incorporate them into your training explained


A hill repeat workout consists of quickly running up a hill followed immediately by a slow jog or walk back down. To make up an entire workout, the process is usually repeated three to six times depending on your level of fitness and running experience.

There are several different types of hill workouts, each tailored to different types of goals, but for the most part hill workouts are usually short and fast.

Incorporating hill workouts into your running routine will help you improve speed and strength by effectively recruiting your muscles to generate maximum force. It's also a great tool for improving your mental stamina.

The following steps explain how to run a hill repeat workout.

1. Warm up. Start with a series of dynamic stretches followed by a 10 to 20-minute easy jog.

2. After you’ve warmed up, start at the bottom of a moderately inclined hill about 100 to 200 meters long. Run up the hill at an intense pace, but not so hard that your form falls apart. Keep your core tight, drive your knees up, swing your arms slightly back and forth (avoid swinging them across your body) and hold your head tall so that your gaze falls about 10 to 20 feet ahead of you.

3. When you reach the top of the hill you should be breathing heavily and your legs should feel slightly stressed. Turn around and jog or walk back down the hill slowly. Focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth as you recover and your heart rate returns to a less elevated state.

4. Beginner runners should aim to repeat the process two to three times, and over a three to four week period should aim to add one repeat each week. Runners with more experience should perform anywhere from three to six repeats, depending on their goals and level of fitness.

Because hill repeat workouts are a type of high intensity training, when incorporating them into your weekly routine it’s important to allow for adequate recovery time afterwards and you should never perform more than two hill workouts per week. (If you do more than one make sure to schedule them for non-consecutive days.)

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