Hill sessions are a fantastic way to improve running fitness, stamina and speed. Great for when you are short on time and great for non-runners who want a body weight interval session outside.
There are lots of different ways to do hill training. Our guide will give you a good indication as to which style of hill training will be most suitable for your goal.
Longer hill training sessions
- focus on aerobic endurance unlike short sprints which are more anaerobic focused
- develop muscular strength and endurance
- your intervals should be anywhere between 1.30 minutes and 5 minutes.
- Try a hill gradient between 3-7%
- are not fast as you can sprints. Effort should be 6-7 (out of 10 RPE) and a pace which aims to maintain speed throughout the whole hill. Your recovery run back should be around 50-60% of hill speed
- do not start too fast on the first few and blow up before the final interval. Make sure you use the recovery properly.
- Are great for middle- and long-distance runners
These sessions do not include warm up and cool downs.
- 5 x 3-minute hill 4-minute recovery jog back to the start
- 5 x 2-minute hill 3-minute recovery jog back to start
- Uphill 1 x 90 seconds, 1x 2-minute, 1 x 90 seconds, 1x 2.30 minutes, 1 x 90 seconds, 1 x 3 minutes, 1x 90 seconds (Recovery jog back to bottom after each interval)
Short hill training sessions
- Short hill sessions will focus on anaerobic endurance.
- Short hills are not hill sprints! Sprint pace can only be maintained for around 10 seconds. Short hills are longer so sprint pace cannot be maintained.
- The develops speed, power, running efficiency and stride length
- Intervals should be 30-90 seconds max
- Try a hill gradient of 4-10%
- These are fast but not flat out sprints due to the length/time. Effort level should be around 8 (out of 10 RPE)
- Great for all running distances
- These sessions are incredibly versatile to suit all levels, based on how much you can adapt them.
Consider what the aim of your session is:
Short hills for anaerobic fitness
- 6-7 x 30 seconds recovery 2-3 minutes (7-9 RPE)
- 4 x 30 seconds recovery 2 minutes, 4 x 20 seconds (7-9 RPE)
Short hills for anaerobic endurance
- 6 x 50 seconds recovery 2-4 minutes (7-8 RPE)
- 2 x 40 seconds, 2x 50 seconds, 2x 60 seconds recovery 2-4 minutes (7-8 RPE)
Short hills for aerobic and anaerobic
- 8-10 x 60-90 seconds recovery 2-3 minutes (7-8 RPE)
- 1 x 45 seconds, 1 x 90 seconds, 1 x 45 seconds, 1 x 90 seconds, 2 x 60 seconds, 2 x 90 seconds recovery 2-3 minutes (7-8 RPE)