8 Hill Workouts To Make You a Better Runner

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Benefits of hill workouts

Hill workouts are a great way to add intensity and variation to your workout routine.

By incorporating hills into your routine, you can improve your endurance and strength while also burning more calories. Because of the inclined terrain, this training pushes to challenge your running economy and find out your improvements for your VO2 Max.

Hills are also great for improving sprinting ability and overall speed. Additionally, hill workouts help to improve running form and technique.

This kind of training benefits beginners, sprinters and distance runners alike.

The Best Hill Workouts You Should Try Now

There are many different hill workouts that you can do, but here are a few of the best ones:

1. Hills Start

Fit Girl Running Uphill

This type of hill run is an introductory run for those trying for the first time. You begin by jogging for 10 to 15 minutes then returning to your starting point walking for 2 minutes.

The process involves starting short runs for a few seconds then walking back down. You can slowly add to your time and distance depending on your level of comfort for each sequence. You can start with 5-second sets to 15-second sets each time and best done every week to another week.

2. Summit Attack

The Summit Attack is a great hill workout for runners who are looking to improve their speed and endurance. This workout involves running up a hill as fast as possible with lengthened strides, then jogging back to the beginning area. Be sure to use good running form and technique when sprinting down the hill. Repeat this cycle for the desired number of repetitions.

3. Downhill Loops

Downhill loops are ideal for those anticipating to join a race with hilly terrain.

To perform this workout, find a hill that is about a quarter-mile to a mile and a half long. Jog or run up the hill at a moderate pace or almost race pace to complete a loop.

The goal is consistency throughout the entire course. Do this cycle for 4-6 repetitions or challenge yourself by increasing pace or increasing the loops you do every week.

4. Speed Hills

Speed Hills

The goal of speed hills is speedwork. Here the goal is to increase your speed and develop leg strength to be able to take on all that vertical terrain.

The essence of speed hills is to do a continuous 45 sec to 1 min uphill climb in sets of 5 with jog-down recovery and a 3-minute rest after 5 sets. Cap off the run with a 3 minute run with maximum effort in the final 30-second stretch.

5. Short Hill Sprints

Short hill sprints are another great hill workout that can help improve speed and endurance.

To perform short hill sprints, run up a steep hill with maximum effort for eight to twelve seconds. And walk downward to recover and normalize your heart rate. It is recommended to do hill sprints once a week going up to as many as 8 repeats.

6. Killer Hills

One of the best hill workouts for getting stronger fast.

Do a 10-15 warm-up run doing a few 100mn sprints and then take on a moderate hill run 8 to 12 times. Try to go after a moderate effort for 2 minutes and go for hard effort runs for a minute and a half. Jog down after reaching the top. Don’t forget to cool down after a heart-rate raising run.

7. Downhill Strides

Downhill run

Is all about mastering gravity as you go down an inclined slope. This allows you to keep your footing and not sacrifice your time while making it down a hill.

After doing a run try to do 100m strides going down a hill while keeping your arms close to your body to maintain balance.

8. Up and Downard

This exercise is more preparatory for upcoming races.

Begin by taking on a medium incline for around 2-3 minutes then running down for 2 minutes. Utilize around a 2-3 minute recovery time and try to repeat about five times. Your total workout would feel somewhat like a 5k or 10k run.


Your biggest challenge when it comes to running on hills is the incline and going up against gravity. Truly a different experience from when you run on a road or at a track.

Nevertheless, don’t take on a race without familiarizing yourself with the feel of the terrain under your feet as well as your ability to cope with altitude runs.

Overall hill workouts are beneficial to include in your training programs for all types of runners and can give you more challenging scenarios than your regular runs.