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Do Something Streak, Day 13: Hit the Hills, Work the Flats

Build run speed and power with this potent mix of hill reps and flat efforts—and all in under an hour.

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Today’s Do Something Streak workout will get you working hard, improving your run form, and building your fitness. It’s a favorite of Coach Lauren Vallee, of Valiant Endurance, and it combines brief hill repeats with a short pace progression on a flat road. This means you will need to find the right location for it—ideally a hill that is 5-7% grade, with a flat road or trail at the base of the hill. Alternatively, there’s always the treadmill if you’re so inclined.

Vallee said: “This session encourages proper run technique without the athlete needing to consciously ‘do’ anything. Just run the intensities and you’ll be setting yourself up for higher power output, better extension in your stride, and better foot-loading in your run.”

Begin with a 20-minute warm-up, all smooth running, and end your warm-up at the base of the hill. You’ll then do 10 reps of 20-second fast uphill sprints, at RPE 9/10 (Rate of Perceived Exertion), with a walk or light jog down to the base of the hill as recovery each time.

Once you’ve done all 10 reps, it’s time to hit the flat (trail or road) and do: three minutes at a solid effort, RPE 6/10; two minutes stronger (RPE 7/10); one minute very strong (RPE 8/10). You’ll then run four minutes smooth (RPE 4/10), ending at the base of the hill to start your second round of uphill sprints and repeat the same pattern. Once you’ve completed the 10 hill reps and the same three-minute, two-minute, one-minute efforts, plus the four minutes of smooth running, you’ll then cool down to the hour.

To really get the most from this workout, Vallee said: “During the 20-second uphill effort, aim for 30 single foot strikes in that time. This equates to 90 single foot strikes per minute, a great target for any triathlete or runner looking to improve their efficiency. For the pace progressions, don’t overthink the perceived exertion. Progress your intensity across the intervals so you finish with a hard one-minute effort.”

Workout: Hit the Hills, Work the Flats


20 min. smooth running

Main set

2 rounds of:

10 x 20 sec. uphill sprints RPE 9/10; jog back down recovery

On the flat: 

3 min. strong, RPE 6/10

2 min. stronger, RPE 7/10

1 min. very strong, RPE 8/10

4 min. smooth running, RPE 4/10 (finishing at the base of the hill to resume hill reps for round 2)


Easy running to the hour


Lauren Vallee has been a high performance coach for over a decade. She is a USAT Level II and Ironman certified coach and is a two-time Kona age-group qualifier. You can find out more about her here

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