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Workout I Did: Hill Repeats

We’re taking a little trip back in time today — it’s been a couple of months since I last did this running hill interval workout, but it’s been one of my favorites for years, and I can give you several reasons why.

For one thing, you can work — hard — in a fairly short amount of time. Hooray, efficiency!

Second, it’s infinitely modifiable. Brand new to running or coming off a long hiatus? Pick a small hill and start off at an easy pace. Are you the fastest in the land? Find a steep climb and start out strong. Want to work out with a friend who’s much faster or slower than you? Go ahead and join them for this workout — you’ll at least pass each other on the way up and down, and you can easily warm up and cool down together.

Plus, if you’re like me and really like having water handy during your workouts, it’s simple to leave a bottle at the bottom of your hill to grab as needed.

For my example, I’m referring to the highly beloved/enormously dreaded 8th Avenue hill in Gainesville. It’s a fixture on a number of local races, and it’s a doozy. In my case, the first two intervals are right around a minute, and I descend until the last two are usually around 47 seconds.

The most important thing is that, whatever the incline and distance of your hill, keep it consistent (so, pick one landmark at the bottom for your starting point and one at the top), and time yourself (don’t you cheat!) for each repeat. Done correctly, this workout will help you identify your various gears and allow you to see just how deep you can dig when things get tough. By the final interval, you should be ready to beg for mercy. If you’re not, tack on another two!

hill interval workout

Have you done a hill repeat workout before? How did it compare to this? —Kristen

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  1. Suzannah says:

    Ahhhh lung burn! Hill workouts or interval training are so good to thrw into the exercise mix 1-2 times a week. You don’t always have to exercise for an hour. A short hard workout is very good for you and is much easier to fit into your schedule! Thanks for the tips!

  2. J Lee says:

    I love running hills! I used to do it all the time, but when I moved to South Florida I found that the only hills were bridges! :/

  3. Wes says:

    Hill runs are probably one of the best fat loss exercises you can do. They’re super efficient if you struggle for time, but they are also a much better choice for burning fat, as your body continues to burn calories for a longer period of time, even after you’ve finished!

  4. Michael J. says:

    A great opportunity to make a shake for your muscles.

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