Taking on the hills

It’s Friday! And my legs are toast!

It has been a good week for workouts – my runs have felt good, though yesterday’s hill work was killer hard and did leave me wondering – “How will I do this for the next 5 weeks?!” The plan called 8 x 250 meter hill repeats with 5 miles of warm-up and cool-down. Somewhere after the 5th or 6th repeat I think I may have started to question my coach’s sanity, and by the final repeat there was definitely a fair amount of cursing involved.

While I have done an occasional hill workout on the treadmill to break-up the monotony of a mill run, this is the first time I have hill work as an integral part of my training plan. I have always read that hill work will make you a stronger runner, and I’m definitely up for that benefit! I also freely admit that I’ve always had a bit of a mental block when it comes to hills – I can easily psyche myself out, so I’m counting on this devotion to hill work to help me break through that barrier.

After yesterday’s torture session, I know the key to taking the sting out of hill running is proper form. I went back to re-read a timely article my coach included in his most recent newsletter from the International Association of Women Runners – which you can read HERE. I also broke out my notes from my Chi Running workshop and their Hills and Trails DVD. Lean into the hill, quicker turnover and increased arm swing…Yes I’m going to become a student of hill running! I’ll let you know how it goes.

So tell me – do you find hill running easy? Is it a regular part of your training?



  1. Thanks for the link to the article. I know I lean back on the downhills. Got to pay attention to my form!

  2. I find hill running difficult….to say the least! Back in the day (late 80’s, early 90’s) when I was into long-distance cycling, I was described as having a “downhill body”! At 6’0″ and 215lbs, I’ve got a lot of “gravity” to overcome! LOL

    That said, I don’t shy away from hills either….you know the old saying….”whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

  3. Hills are so good for both strength and speed! We always start our season of speed work with about 4-6 weeks of hill repeats. You’ll love the results!

  4. Omg, I’m terrified of hills. I live in a landfill area so flat flat flat, but races are all in San Francisco, hills hills hills!! Normal people slow down like 30sec by hills, not me. Last year at Nike, my pace went from 8:45 to like 11:30…. I’m horrible. This year, I must conquer the hills!!!

  5. I try to avoid hills as much as possible. But I know deep inside me it would be soo beneficial to incorporate them in my training. Instead, I search for the flattest races possible and tell myself there is no reason to run hills since the race is flat as a pancake 🙂

  6. I have been doing Chi Running for a couple of years now and have really benefitted from the hill technique too.

  7. I can’t avoid hills in my neighborhood, but I will drive to run somewhere else so I don’t have to do them all the time. I’ve done hill intervals on the TM but never repeats outside. Sounds tough!

  8. Love/hate hills! I’m actually working on a post about my cross country team’s hill workout today. We call it the Valley of the Champions, and they do repeats on three different hills, each steeper than the other. Awesome (from a coaches point of view!).

  9. Just reading the title I was going to say to read Chi Running! I read it when I was training for Boston! I have a love/hate relationship with hills….like I love to run them as fast as I can because I hate them so much!! Living in New England though you learn to embrace the hills because they are EVERYWHERE!! I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that!!

  10. Great job on surviving your torture session of hill work! I don’t do as much hill work as I should. I’ve heard so many great things about Chi Running. Thanks for reminding me I need to look more into this!

  11. I hated hill running untill I focused on accomplishing the goal of scaling a nearby hill…then once I accomplished that I started to embrace it

  12. Hill running is an acquired skill, once you haven’t done it for while you have lost so much ability. Main reason I bailed from doing Pikes Peak this year…hard to scale 8000′ up when you run all your runs on the treadmill – ha. Great job on the hills…they definitely make you stronger!!

  13. Hill running sounds interesting. I never tried it before. I admire your hill work.


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