5K Hill Workouts
By Rick Morris
There’s no such thing as an bad hill training run. Any time you’re running up or down hill you’re doing a good job of improving your running economy, strength and fitness. With that being said you can still make your hill workouts even more efficient by designing them to meet your specific running goal. If you’re training for a marathon you should do hill training workouts that are specifically intended to help you meet your marathon goal. If your goal race is a 5K your hill workouts should be designed for that specific distance. Here are just a few of the many possible workouts to get you ready for your next 5K PR. The main problem with hill training is finding a hill of appropriate length and incline in your area. If you live in a hill challenged location you can always do these hill workouts on a treadmill. Here are some 5K hill workouts to get you started.
5K Hill Blasters
You thought your 400 meter track repeats were tough? Wait until you try this one. You will need a hill with a steep incline of around 10 to 15 percent for this workout.
- Description: Run 8 to 15 repeats of about 150 meters up a steep hill of 10% to 15% elevation. Run at the fastest pace you can maintain for the repeat. For your first attempt at this hill workout do 8 repetitions and gradually build up your number of reps as you get stronger and fitter.
- Pace: The fastest pace you can maintain on each work repeats
- Recovery: Recover between each hill repeat by walking or running at a very easy pace down the hill. As soon as you reach your starting point at the bottom of the hill turn around at begin your next repeat.
5K Hill Crunchers
This is a slightly longer but not necessarily easier hill workout. Your pace during the work portions of this hill training run is just slightly faster than your 5K race pace.
- Description: Run 6 to 12 repeats of 300 meters up a moderate to steep hill of around 8% to 12% elevation. Always begin with fewer repetitions and gradually increase your reps as your body becomes stronger.
- Pace: Try to maintain a pace that is about 10 to 12 seconds per mile faster than your current 5K race pace.
- Recovery: Recover by walking or jogging down the hill at an easy pace. Begin your next repeat as soon as you reach your starting point at the bottom of the hill.
5K Hill Cruisers
This hill workout is excellent for 5K preparation because you are running at or very close to your current 5K race pace.
- Description: Run four to eight 600 meter hill repeats up a moderate to steep hill of between 8% and 12% elevation.
- Pace: Run at a pace that is a close to your 5K pace as you can maintain.
- Recovery: Recover by jogging down the hill at an easy pace. Turn around when you reach the bottom of the hill and begin your next repeat.
5K Hill Surges
This hill training workout is very similar to 5K hill cruisers except is adds in a new dimension that makes it even more race specific – a sprint surge.
- Description: Run up a 600 to 800 meter hill at 5K pace. At the end of your repeat accelerate to near sprint pace for about 50 meters. Perform 4 to 8 of these repeats.
- Pace: 5K race pace for the first 600 to 800 meters then accelerate to sprint pace for the final 50 meters.
- Recovery: Recover between each repeat by jogging down the hill. Begin your next repeat upon reaching your starting point at the bottom of the hill.
5K Hill Climb
This one is simple to perform but not particularly easy. You will need to find a long steady incline or use a treadmill for this workout.
- Description: Run 5 kilometers up a moderate hill of 5% to 8% incline. Run at a steady tempo pace or between 10K pace and 30 seconds per mile slower than 10K pace.
- Pace: Strong tempo pace or between 10K race pace and 30 seconds slower than 10K pace.
- Recovery: This is a steady state workout. There is no recovery. After completing your hill climb run down the hill at an easy pace.