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Hill training session for runners

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)