Hills, Hills, and More Hills

I thought moving away from the heat in Texas would automatically result in an increase in my running pace. However, I overlooked the fact that Virginia is HILLY. And anyone who has been to Houston knows the only inclines to be found are the ramps in parking garages. So a year in Houston also meant a year away from running up any inclines, and oh boy do my legs need to get used to living in hill country!

Great Views Here – But Tough to Run Up

The only way I can think of to get over the pain from encountering hills is to just keep running them. I have made it a point to do some hill sprints once per week to help build my “tolerance” so to speak. A benefit to hill work is that in a short period of time you can fatigue both your legs and lungs, so it is a great workout to get in when on a tight schedule.

If you have a smaller hill (or staircase) nearby (like I did in Houston in the images above), run 10-12 sprints up, using a walk or slow jog down as your recovery. Rest for a bit after 10-12 reps and then go again! If you have a longer hill (like I do now in Virginia) it may be better to break the hill down in to sections. The Tabata interval (which I mentioned before in this post) is one option. Sprint up for 20 seconds, walk for 10 seconds, and repeat for 4 minutes (which is 8 reps). Then take a minute walk or jog down for a recovery and repeat the total sequence 3 more time! In less than 20 minutes you will have a completed an intense workout!

Do you incorporate hill work in to your training or workout regimen? If so, what benefits have you seen? Do you have certain “hill sprint workouts” that you follow? If so, do share!


2 thoughts on “Hills, Hills, and More Hills

  1. ET (@runningbride2b) says:

    I live in a fairly hilly area so any runs from my house typically result in hill training. I’ve never really had to make a conscious effort to incorporate it! In training I do often try to push myself harder up the hills and use the downhills to recover. I think its made me a stronger runner.

    • Tanya says:

      I agree with you! I absoloutely think that hills make for stronger runners. I notice that incorporating hill sprints had made it easier when I encounter hills during long runs!

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