3 Hill Workouts to Get Faster and Stronger

As we move into our second phase of pre-season cross country season, hill workouts are an important part of our training. They should be a part of your plan too. Depending upon your own goals, there are several types of hill workouts that provide different benefits. Here are three workouts that should be a part of your training program.


#1 Farlek Hill Running

This is a great workout to do as you start to build your mileage for any race distance. It also makes a good substitute for a speed workout. The ideal route will consist of rolling type hills, but steeper hills within the workout are fine. You will be challenging yourself both on the uphills and the downhills. Your effort should be about 85%, about what it would be during a 10k. Recover by slowing your pace and effort on the flats.

Hill WorkoutAlways make sure to spend some time warming up and cooling down on more level terrain.

#2 Long and Low Hills

For this workout find hills with about a 5% grade that are 150-200 meters long. Because of the lower grade, these intervals will benefit your aerobic system and should be done at an effort about equal to your 5k.

Hill Workout 2

This is a good workout during pre-season training, starting about two months out from your goal race.

#3 Short and Sweet Hill Workout

Finally, these short steep intervals will improve your anaerobic system, which is good for sprinting (think that finishing kick). Find a short hill that is pretty steep, about 8-15%. Pay attention to your form, think upright, not bent over, and use your arms to drive you up the hills.

Hill Workout 3

A training plan that includes one hill workout per week, or alternating with speed workout every other week will improve your fitness, speed, and strength.


I find that most people either love or hate hill workouts (or love to hate them). Where do you stand?


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  1. says

    My bucket list race destination would be to go to Colorado for a race! I live in NY & have never visited but I think it would be a great place to explore while running!
    Annmarie recently posted…Skoop Review- Get Your Super On!My Profile

  2. Jenny says

    I just checked one bucket list race off. The Peachtree Road Race. Now I’ve got my eye on Houston 2016!

  3. says

    Hill running is like my frenemy. I love to hate them but I really just love them. They feel so good once you’re done. I can honestly say I’ve never tried farlek hills and will need to incorporate them in the future :)
    Ursula recently posted…5 Ridiculously Easy & Healthy Summer SaladsMy Profile

  4. says

    I’ve got a LOT of bucket list races!!
    London, Big Sur (were we talking about hills?), Melbourne, Tokyo, NYCM, ….

    I’ve started with hill repeats and I’m “building hill base” with long repeats of 3min run steady up a hill with 5% grade.
    Smitha @ FauxRunner recently posted…Tips on How to be a Great Race VolunteerMy Profile

  5. Terry says

    Bucket List: Big Sur (knocked off this past April), Dopey Challenge at Disney World (signed up for 2015), Chicago, Cincinnati Flying Pig, London.

    Hate hills. Try to run places where a few small ones sneak in…

  6. Jeffrey says

    I’m hoping to qualify for the New York City Marathon. Missed it by 2 1/2 minutes. Gotta wait till next year when I turn 40 and qualify with a half marathon time.

  7. says

    one of my running friends does hill workouts and is always trying to get me to come. they seem so exhausting, and i’m always a chicken because i fear it will hinder my normal running/gym routine!

  8. BreannaS says

    I am currently focusing on a half marathon the go girl run in Kansas City. It has been on my list since February. My bucket list includes several small local races including the hospital hill run In Kansas City, a 1/2 marathon at 1000 hills state park, and I would love to try a mud run/obstacle race.

  9. Anna B says

    I don’t really have a bucket list race because I’m just getting into running. I’m doing my first 1/2 in Oct! Depending on how that goes, I think my bucket list race will be any marathon! or a rock ‘n roll 1/2 because they seem fun!

  10. Christine says

    My bucket list race is the rome marathon!


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