You can’t run the Appalachians without going uphill, and chances are, the next race on your calendar features at least one grueling climb. The only way to conquer that hill is to train on hills, and that means hill repeats (literally running up and down the same hill). Running hills will give you the leg strength associated with weight lifting but also the elevated cardio fitness runners get from interval training. As a bonus, not only will you be able to tackle that hill in your next race, you’ll develop more speed on the flats enabling you to sprint to the finish.

 

Hill Repeats
5 minute slow jog warm-up on flat ground.

 

Find a hill that’s steep enough to challenge you but not so steep that you have to crawl to the top. The hill should be fairly short: approximately 50 – 100 yards.

 

As you approach the hill, lean slightly forward, keeping your back straight and tall. Lift your knees, and keep your shoulders relaxed and low. Pump your arms. Shorten your stride. Stay on your toes. Think baby steps. Jog easily down the hill for recovery.

 

Run up the hill at race pace, making sure to keep proper running form. Walk or slowly jog down the hill and repeat the process. Start with two sets of five with a five-minute jog between and work up to two sets of ten.

 

Try a variety of hill workouts: short and very steep, longer and not-so-steep, or accelerations during the workout. As you advance, you can gradually increase the number of repetitions and the speed. Aim for one hill workout a week.