One-Hour Workout: Hills and Tempo Time

Enjoy hitting some short hill repeats and then maximizing tempo work on the flat in this run workout.

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This is a fun and varied run workout that can be adapted for the training phase you’re in and the goals of that phase. It involves a few short, sharp hill repeats before hitting some four-minute tempo efforts on the flat. 

Begin with a 15-minute warm-up on a flat road and be sure to start out easy. By the final five minutes of the warm-up you should feel like you’re ready to begin working harder: you are breathing slightly harder and your brain and body are ready to go. It should be a 6-7/1o RPE (rate of perceived exertion). Before you begin the main set, do three 45-second pick-ups, where you gently increase your pace every 15 seconds. To be clear, the final 15 seconds of each pick-up should be quick but nowhere near sprinting or maximum effort. These are designed to simply open you up before you start the main set.

The main set is a two-parter: first up, you’ll want to find a hill that’s 4-6% grade and do six 20-second hill repeats, jogging back down to your start position as recovery each time. On each hill repeat, focus on knee drive and power in your stride. These should feel strong but not necessarily fast. As we are still early in the year, your focus here should be power in your strides over any pace (but later in the year and in race season you can focus more closely on pace).

As soon as you’ve completed the hill repeats, head onto flat roads for two or three rounds of four-minute tempo intervals (think RPE 7/10) with two minutes jog in between each interval. Again, at this time of year, it’s best to seek smooth, relaxed tempo work and avoid the temptation to start to crank up the pace and effort too much. Keep things relaxed right now—the hard work can come later!

Cool down with a five to 10-minute easy jog.

One-Hour Workout: Hills and Tempo Time


15 min. easy, building the effort in the final 5 min.

3 x 45-sec. pick-ups, building speed every 15 sec.

Main Set:

On a 4-6% grade hill do 6 x 20-second hill repeats, jogging back down to the start position as recovery.

Transition straight into: 2-3 x 4 min. @ tempo pace (RPE 7/10) with 2 min. jog between each interval.


5-10 min. easy jog

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