One-Hour Workout: Bite-Sized Hill Reps

Enjoy unleashing some power and speed on this short, sharp hill set.

Photo: Getty Images

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Although triathletes often like to think more is better, when it comes to speed work (and things like hill repeats), the opposite is often true. There are a raft of benefits that come from doing some short, sharp hills like the ones in this workout—and we’re pretty sure you’ll have a blast doing them too.

These hill repeats are designed to be done in the middle of an easy aerobic run. Ensure you’re well warmed up with 15 to 20 minutes of relaxed running on the clock before you find a hill that’s no more than about a 5% grade. It doesn’t need to be super steep; just steep enough for you to do the work. These repeats are designed to reap neuromuscular benefits, waking up body and brain, and reminding you what it feels like to move a little faster and push against an incline.

It’s important not to go all-out on the first one—in fact, none of these should be all-out or maximal—and you certainly want to work your way into them. You’ll do six 30-second hill repeats, working at about an 8 out of 10 on the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. Between each 30-second repeat, you should take 2.5 minutes recovery, walking down the hill and then easy jogging on the flat until it’s time to go again. You really want your heart rate/effort to come right down before beginning the next hill rep.

Once you’ve done all six, run relaxed and easy until the hour. Of course, once you’ve done this workout a few times, you can consider increasing the number of repeats if time permits.

RELATED: Ask a Trainer: What are the Best Hip Exercises for Runners?

One-Hour Workout: Bite-Sized Hill Reps


15-20 min. easy running, RPE 4-5/10

Main set

6 x 30 sec. hill repeats on a 5% grade hill, RPE 8/10

2.5 min. recovery between each rep


15-20 min. easy running, RPE 4-5/10

More One-Hour Workouts

Trending on Triathlete