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Uphill Training Sessions


The simplest of hill sessions, this is also easy to add to your training as you become stronger. As you progress, you can add more reps to the workout. The key with this, and all hill sessions, is to concentrate on your running form.

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and drive your elbows back, to help power your legs up the hill.

  • Run tall with a slight forward lean that comes from the ankle, don’t bend at the waist.

  • Look a few meters ahead of you rather than down at the ground.


Run at an easy to moderate pace for 15 minutes before stopping at a hill. Choose one that’s long enough to accommodate two minutes of effort running up, and not so steep that you have to stop before the two minutes are up.

Run hard up the hill for two minutes and walk or jog back down to recover. Forget time and run on effort, you should feel ok to do another rep after your recovery. If not, you’ve gone too hard. Your recovery should be three to four minutes, so take your time coming back down. Finish with another 15 minutes of easy to moderate running.

  • 15 minutes easy

  • 6x 2 minutes uphill

  • Walk or jog back down for 3-4 minutes to recover

  • 15 minutes easy.

Progression: you can add distance to the beginning or end of this run to fit your training, as well as adding a couple more hill reps as you get fitter.


This tempo session with the added challenge of a few hills along the way is an endurance strength session.

Plan for a short loop that includes at least one hill, some flat and some downhill. It doesn’t matter how long or short your loop is, as you’ll be running to time instead of distance. If it’s too short, you might get bored after a few loops.


Start with an easy 10-minute run on the flat before moving to your hilly loop. Run at 80% effort for eight minutes, completing as many loops as you can in that time. Run strong up the hills and maintain your effort level on the flat and downhill.

Take a three-minute walk/jog recovery then repeat for the second eight-minute interval. Cool down with another 10-minute, easy jog on the flat.

  • 10 minutes easy

  • 8 minutes hard (80% effort)

  • 3-minute recovery walk/jog

  • 8 minutes hard (80% effort)

  • 10 minutes easy


This pyramid session replicates that environment by mixing up the duration of your intervals.


Find a hill that takes around 90 seconds to run up from bottom to top. After warming up, you’ll find your hill and run up it for different durations of time, turning round after each effort and jogging back down to recover. Moderate your speed so that you’re running faster on the shorter efforts than the longer ones.

  • 10 minutes easy

  • Uphill efforts of 45 seconds, 1 minute, 90 seconds, 2 minutes, 90 seconds, 1 minute, 45 seconds, jogging back down to recover between each effort

  • 10 minutes easy.


When we think of hill training, we always think of the leg-burning uphill efforts. Often we don’t give much thought to the downhill during our training.

While it might be easier on your heart and lungs to run downhill, your legs don’t get a break. Downhill running requires your muscles to work in a slightly different way to running uphill, and is likely to be the cause of the DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) in your quads the day after a hilly run.

Downhill running is a real skill that needs practising, and can give you a real advantage over the competition in a race, and good training sessions. Try not to lean back or run too stiffly. Relax into the downhill.


Complete a series of uphill intervals, using the same stretch of hill for downhill efforts. Your form should be loose, try not to tense your legs or lock your knees, and your arms should be relaxed and helping you balance.

  • 15-minute easy jog

  • 4x 2 minutes hard uphill, easy downhill

  • 4x 2 minutes easy uphill, fast downhill

  • 15-minute easy jog.

Uphill Training, Get Stronger, Run Stronger!


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