Today I did a hill workout. Fueled up with some more Cliff Shot Bloks from Running with Sass. I ran about a 1.5 miles to warm up and then went at it!
Short hills (11 repeats of about .15 miles ~ 240 m)
8:55 avg pace
Because a friend of mine asked for some advice on hill workouts, I found it appropriate to post about it today. I’m no pro, but I would love to give advice on my past experiences! So here’s to you my dear Laura!
Back in the day, when I would run with Dave, he would want to go up the hills and I would wine like a little baby saying I wanted to go on flat ground. Now, I crave the hills (OK I don’t COMPLETELY crave hills, but I like how I feel after them). I don’t necessarily rock them all the time, but I love the challenge. So how do I incorporate them into my workout?
I used to do repeats on Thursdays and alternate with speed workouts. However, now I am trying to incorporate hills on my Tuesday longer run. This allows for me to get some endurance hill training. I don’t go the fastest, but that’s not the point of the hills.
I can already see an improvement. At the Boston Prep 16 miler, I was able to jog up every hill when others were walking. I sped up the Foxboro 10 miler hills. And the Hyannis ones seemed like a breeze! The best advice I can give related to hills is to start running hills!
10 minute warmup
4-8 hill repeats (depending on the steepness)
What do I mean by hill repeat? You should run at a speed you can keep consistently that is just a little above your comfort zone up the hill. Then jog down slowly. Do this once, and then REPEAT!
“Hilly power run”
10 minute warmup (a little over a mile)
6-8 miles of hill repeats at whatever speed is comfortable on steep hills
10 minute cool down
*Make sure you include your warmup and cool down!
For some more suggestions read Head for the Hills (Runner’s World). I still have yet to do the Hilly Long Run and Long Hill Circuits.
MOTHER NATURE OR THE “DREADMILL”
I personally love doing the hills outside. I think its more representative of what you encounter in races. However, I do have times I need to visit the treadmill, whether it is really icy or it’s too dark to go out and feel safe! For situations like this, I found a website that gives some good suggestions on treadmill hill workouts. Check it out here!
Uphill (So Inclined, Runner’s World)
- Pump your arms and use them to help you power up the hill
- Press forward with your hips and avoid bending at the waist
- Run with high knees, which will increase your stride and improve posture
- Spring from your toes to propel you forward
- Do not lean back and break heavily on heels
- Do not overstride
- Lean slightly forward and move with gravity
- Shorten your stride
- Relax your arms and shoulders
- Don’t fight the increased speed
For more on form, check out This Way Up (Runner’s World)
I don’t do hills at every workout. I think that my legs need some recovery time. I will try to incorporate at least one hill in multiple workouts, but never a hill workout everyday! I only deem ONE day a week as my designated hill workout day.
Muscle contraction due to running hills can cause you to be sore and you could injure yourself if you try to incorporate too many hill workouts too soon (Going Downhill, Active.com). So take your time and slowly incorporate them into your workout. I have run 3 marathons and just have started to incorporate hills for my 4th!
TIPS FOR SPECIFIC RACES
- If you live near the course, run it! Or if you have a sweet treadmill like Hungry Runner Girl that you can run courses, use that!
- If you know when the elevation change will be tough, try to schedule hills in a similar time in your training runs. For example, you know it is hilly on mile 9 of your half marathon, make sure you do hills then! You have to train your body to do hills when it’s tired!
No matter what race you are doing, flat or hilly, incorporating hills into your weekly workouts will help you improve. Keep in mind that you want to train not only uphill but also downhill because they affect your muscles in different ways. Downhill works your quads
And remember that you don’t have to start with a very steep hill! I started with hills of slight inclines and worked my way up. I always find baby steps the best way to endurance running. Soon you can become a king of the hill!
Do you have a good hill workout I should try?
Variety is the spice of life! I want to learn from you!
Do you prefer outside or treadmill hill workouts?
I love outside workouts in general. I hate being caged up. Running is my time to myself where I forget everything or a time for me to get out in the fresh air with my friends and chat!