Training

Uphill battle

It’s short, sharp and intense, but an uphill running session can bring huge benefits to your training. Here’s how you can become king – or queen – of the hill.

Head for high ground

Take a look at your regular training routes and see if they already include any hills. If not, you’ll need to do some map research to plan a route that will take you up a steep enough gradient to give you a good workout.

Start sensibly

No one climbs Everest for their first mountain. If you’re a hill-running newbie, it makes sense to start with gentle hills, short distances and a slow pace. You should aim for a gradual increase of the intensity.

Your muscles get a different workout when you’re running uphill, so it’s something your body needs time to get used to.

It’s normal for your legs to feel more tired than after a run on the flat, so a slower run the following day is a good way to allow them to recover before your next session.

The fab four

Once you’re used to hill running, these top tips will ensure you get the most from your sessions:

  1. Get ready to attack the hill before you reach it by increasing your pace as you reach the bottom.
  2. As you run up the hill pump your arms and shorten the length of your strides, but take faster strides to keep up the pace.
  3. After your workout, you should feel like you’ve worked hard, but you could manage one more hill if you had to.
  4. Do more of it! There are no shortcuts. Practice is the only way to get better at hill running and improve your technique.

Try these sessions

If you’re new to hill training, start with the beginner’s workout, moving onto the next when you’re ready. Don’t forget to have a thorough warm up before you start each session.

Beginner

Run 100m uphill and repeat six to eight times, walking back slowly to the start each time to allow your legs to recover. Start with gentle hills, getting steeper as you progress.

Intermediate

Run 100 to 150m uphill and repeat 10 times, jogging back gently to the start each time. When your 10 reps are completed, jog for five to 10 minutes then repeat.

Advanced

Make sure you build up gently to this workout – it’s tough and takes around two hours to complete. Repeat the following steps three times:

  • Step 1: Run 100m uphill and repeat eight times, jogging back gently to the start each time.
  • Step 2: Jog for five minutes.
  • Step 3: Run 200m uphill and repeat four times, jogging back gently to the start each time.
  • Step 4: Jog for five minutes.
  • Step 5: Run 100m uphill and repeat eight times, jogging back gently to the start each time.
  • Step 6: Jog for five minutes.