Hill Training for Newbies

By Rick Morris

Hill running may sound like an intimidating and advanced workout. The truth is, while hill running is a valuable training tool for advanced runners, even new runners can gain a lot of fitness, strength and other benefits from hill training. Performing hill training early in your running life will improve your running strength, making you not only stronger, but also a more efficient and injury resistant runner.

Here are some beginning level hill training workouts that will improve your running fitness and efficiency  without turning your leg muscles into shredded wheat. The best place to do hill training is always on a natural hill or road. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to find the appropriate terrain for hill running. For that reason it may be easier to perform these workouts on your treadmill.

Rolling Hills

Run  for 20 minutes over rolling terrain with frequent incline and decline changes. Run at what feels like a moderate to moderately hard pace. Try to maintain a relatively steady pace on all inclines. If you do this on your treadmill, adjust the incline every 2 minutes between 2% and 5%.

Easy Hill Repeats

You may already be familiar with interval training involving short but fast repeats on a 400 meter track.  These are similar short repeats except you do them up a short hill. After a thorough warm up, run about 100 meters up a steep hill at what feels like a hard pace. Jog back down the hill for recovery. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.

Newbie’s Hill Climb

For this one you will need to find a long and steady incline or use your treadmill. Run for 20 minutes up a hill of moderate incline or a treadmill at 5% incline. Alternate between running 2 minutes at a moderate pace and running 2 minutes at an easy pace. If you have problems maintaining a running pace for the entire 20 minutes, alternate between running 2 minutes at a moderate pace and walking for 2 minutes.