Hill repeats are an excellent way for runners to build strength, improve their speed, and build their mental strength and confidence in hill running. Although hills come in all different lengths and degrees of incline, the basic concept of a hill repeat is usually the same. You run up the hill fast and then recover by jogging or walking down. Here’s how to run hill repeats:

  • Hill repeats come in all shapes and sizes. The “rules” are completely open to interpretation. Essentially, you need to find a hill, run up it at race pace or faster, then jog or walk down for recovery.
  • Look for a hill that is between one and three blocks long and will take 60 to 90 seconds to climb. The grade should be steep enough to test you, but not so steep that your form suffers.
  • Run a warm-up. Depending on your current conditioning, run one to three easy miles before reaching the hill. If possible, start flat and hit the bottom of the hill at your chosen pace.
  • As you hit the incline, lean forward with your back tall. Lift your knees and focus more on vertical, rather than forward, motion. Lift through your hip flexors and push down with your glutes and calves.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and low as you pump your arms.
  • Shorten your stride. Stay on your toes. Think baby steps.
  • Depending on the hill and your current conditioning, do 3 to 10 repeats, totaling 20 to 40 minutes of hill repeats.
  • In combination with a regular running routine, run hill repeats once a week. Try a variety of workouts: short and very steep, longer and not-so-steep, fast/faster/fastest. There really are no strict rules. The only given is that hills will make you a stronger runner.