Hill Repeats to Improve Your Run

Hill workouts are the most sport-specific strength training you can do for running. But not all repeats need to be "Run up this hill. Jog down." Here are a few new ideas from USAT-certified coaches to mix up your next set of repeats.

Iron-Distance Power Repeats

Benefits: Builds run-specific strength for longer events.

  • Warm up for 2 miles on flat roads or in the grass. Do a few strides and dynamic stretches.
  • Find a steep hill that's about a half-mile long. Run up hard four times and recover with a walk or jog down. Don't rest at the bottom; just blast right back to the top.
  • Rest three to five minutes.
  • Run 2 miles on a flat road with the same power output as you did on the hill.
  • Rest three to five minutes.
  • Cool down with an easy 10-minute jog.

Total distance: about 9 miles, depending on pace

Do this workout once a week, every other week and try to do 6x hill repeats the following

-Bob Mitera of Kokua Multisports, LLC in Barrington, Illinois.

Tired-Legs Repeats

Benefits: By replacing traditional recovery with strength movements, these repeats teach your body how to run on "tired legs." If you are familiar and comfortable with performing squat cleans, coach Leo Jenkins recommends a weight range of one third to half of your body weight. If you don't typically do squat cleans, opt for air squats, broad jumps or burpees and double the strength repetitions.

  • Do two squat cleans (or four squats)/run a 200m sprint
  • 4 SC/200m S
  • 6 SC/200m S
  • 8 SC/200m S
  • 10 SC/200m S
  • 8 SC/200m S
  • 6 SC/200m S
  • 4 SC/200m S
  • 2 SC/200m S

Total distance: a little more than a mile

-Leo Jenkins of TriYoga-Endurance in Golden, Colorado.

Mile and More Hill Repeats

Benefits: Teaches your body to recover quickly from hard efforts and go right back into easy-paced running. Find a hill or set of stairs about a quarter-mile long with a half-mile of flat road leading up to it.

  • Start at the base of a hill and run easy out and back on flat road for a total of one mile, then run fast up the hill/stairs and back down to the start.
  • Rest two minutes.
  • Start the next interval going uphill first, then run the mile out and back at easy pace.
  • Rest two minutes.
  • Repeat the whole sequence for a total of four repeats.

Total distance: about 6 miles

-Jessica Herschberg of FTP Coaching in Nashville, Tennessee.

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