One-Hour Workout: Run Hill Repeats

Embrace this run workout and watch your run splits come down.

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Most triathletes have a love-hate relationship with hill repeats: While they might hurt like hell, they’re certainly a time-efficient way of getting you fit and strong.

This workout isn’t an easy one, so be sure to approach it with both body and mind ready to do work. Break the 20-minute warm-up into four five-minute sections, starting out super easy, before building the pace through the second and third blocks. After 15 minutes, use the final five minutes to open up your engine and do five sets of 20-30 second pick-ups, which are gradual accelerations that see you “pick up” your speed to close to max. Follow each pick-up with 30 seconds easy walk/jog recovery. Plan your route so that you finish this warm-up at/close to the bottom of your hill.

The main set involves six sets of two-minute hill repeats, where you’re aiming to keep the pace sustained throughout the interval and from one repeat to the next, i.e. don’t go out so hard on the first interval that you blow yourself up for the latter ones. Aim to run “up and over” the summit of the hill, before flipping it to run back down to the start, giving yourself three minutes of recovery. Stay focused on your form and keep your effort even, aiming for 8-9/10 RPE (rate of perceived exertion). These should be hard but don’t force it, and really let yourself recover as you jog back downhill. Hill reps like these are great for building both leg strength and speed, but be sure to pick a hill with a reasonable incline—around a 4-6 percent grade is ideal.

Cool down for 10 minutes, making sure to really bring your heart rate down and recover. Expect to have some heavy legs for a few days afterward, so give it at least a day or two before running hard again.

Run Hill Repeats

20 minutes in 5-minute increments through the first 15 minutes, building from easy to moderate. In the final 5 minutes, hit 5 x 20-30 second pick-ups with 30 seconds recovery between each.

Main Set
6 x 2 minute hill repeats with 3 minutes recovery between each. Try to find a 4-6 percent grade hill for these.

10 minutes easy

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