Training Tip: Hills and Flats

Excerpted from Running With Joy:

I love to climb! Hill running is a great way to build strength and knee drive without zapping your body. Because of the low impact and slow speed, I can come back a few days after a hill run and do a hard long run. The hills provide many of the benefits I otherwise get in the gym, and I get a cardiovascular benefit as well. I have had some of my best races after doing substantial hill work. Here are two options you can try:

Uphill Threshold. Run at the same effort as a tempo run (the pace you run for a race) for 30 minutes on a road with a grade you like. I enjoy a consistent 5 percent to 9 percent grade. If you’re training for a marathon, gradually build up to 60 minutes. I never run back down because of the high impact of downhill running (unless I am training for a course like the Boston Marathon, which demands callusing to downhill running).

Hill Sprints. Find a steep hill and sprint for 20 to 50 meters (10 repetitions). The key is to keep the distance short so you can sustain maximum effort with proper form.

This entry was posted in Inspiration. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Jason
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip! I definitely need to work on my hill running. I also tend to overexert at the wrong time. No marathon for me this year… instead I’m doing the Tough Mudder. So hill work will be very important!

    Good luck in all of your training and events!

  2. Posted July 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff Ryan. We appreciate your sincerity and purpose. Just came across the blog and intend on checking it out regularly. Humility is a life long lesson, you will continue to be challenged by it along the journey.

    In Him, David
    Jeremiah 12:5

  3. Cody W
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    New blog soon!?!?!?! I know you update your competitor one. Have you forgot about Running for Joy! :P

  4. Posted January 27, 2012 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    I love hills. It’s incredible how much stronger hills makes you if you run them enough.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.