Benefits of Hill Repeats

Hey friends!

Hope you all had a marvelous weekend because marvelous Monday is upon us.

I had a 50/50 marvelous weekend running wise.  Saturday was not so marvelous (but still not horrible). I hit my highest distance post foot injury – 9 miles. The first seven flew by but the last two made me work. But I stuck it out, slow and steady. Sunday was the complete opposite. The miles ticked away and my legs felt light as a feather. Isn’t it funny the difference a day can make?

We had to have some marvelous family time too. We spent part of Sunday morning exploring and soaking in the awesome weather.

Little explorers - happyfitmama.com

Since I mentioned my strange love of hill repeats on Friday, I’ve had a few questions about the benefits and how to do them.

Benefits of Hill Repeats - happyfitmama.com

First, the benefits, which are pretty obvious.  Running hills are essentially a strength training workout for all your running muscles (glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads, etc).  You use these same muscles during sprinting. Therefore, hill repeats can help you get faster by increasing the frequency and length of your stride. You become more powerful and efficient to cover more ground with less effort. Having stronger leg muscles can also help prevent injury. Lastly, hill repeats will give you confidence and mental toughness for pushing through fatigue in the end stages of a race.

Now for the how. You could just pick a hill and go up and down, up and down as many times as you feel like it. Ideally, you want a hill that takes 90 seconds to 2 minutes to climb. The grade should be steep enough that you feel a burn in your legs for the last half. (Always do a warm up of 1-2 miles before tackling hill repeats). Depending on your fitness level, you may start with 3 repeats (beginner) to 9-12 (advanced). Hill repeats should only be done once a week.

Stronger, faster, more efficient, more confidence and mental toughness – why aren’t you doing hill repeats?

I’ve never been the best hill climber. In fact, I usually tell people I hate hills. I always slow down quite a bit climbing but will make up for it on the downhill or flat section. I’ve grown tired of seeing runners that I previously passed breeze past me on the uphill. It’s time for me to be the breeze!

*The winner of the sampler pack of Picky Bars is Amy G. Please email me (happyfitmama at gmail dot com) your mailing information asap. Congrats!

What would you rather do – speed work or hill repeats?

43 comments on “Benefits of Hill Repeats

    1. Good point! My really long hill (takes over 2 minutes to get up) I break it up into segments. I do 3-4 repeats half way up the hill. Then 3-4 of the full hill. I see if I can better my time with each repeat.

  1. Ummmm hands down speed work!!! However since New England is like one giant roller coaster there is no way to avoid the hills!!! I’m thinking of getting over myself and doing these!!!

  2. Living in Tennessee, you basically have hills on every run. I prefer hills for short runs and speed for longer runs. (Notice I said longer runs – not long runs – I only average 12 miles a week running 3x – no desire to do another 1/2 marathon) I get bored easily so I have to mix it up.

  3. I think I love to hate hills. The only thing I can think about when I come upon one in a race is that it has to be connected to a downhill at some point. Since there aren’t a lot of hills in our area I typically do my hill training on a treadmill which just isn’t the same as outdoor hill runs.
    Looks like fun family time!
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  4. Every once in awhile I actually combine speed work on hills – not often though!!! I like to really push myself hard up the hill and then do it again and again – it makes other speed work seem just a tiny bit easier.
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  5. Since I’ve got a bulging disc in my low back, hills KILLS me… maybe I need to work more on speed training then & see if it helps in the end with the hills.

  6. We have a workout for the cross country team that we call the Valley of the Champions. Three different hills, each a little steeper than the last, within about a quarter mile of each other. First the team does repeats on the first, less steep hill, then we jog over to the next, then finally the last steepest hill. They start with 5 each and work up to 10. It is a killer workout.

    As Frank Shorter said, hills are speedwork in disguise.
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  7. I’d definitely much rather do speed workouts but that is because the track feels like home to me. I was on track in high school and college and basically lived there…It’s a comfortable feeling for me. But I am trying to push my comfort zones a little so I do plan on more hill workouts (whether I like them or not) in the near future!
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    1. I dread speed work until I actually start the workout. Self doubt gets me way too worked up. But then I get into it and actually enjoy it especially if I hit my paces. Then I feel like a track star! 😉

  8. Hills are so fun for me, I agree with everyone above who says the downhill makes them so worth it, although I’ve caught myself on the trails a couple times almost biting it on the descent. Gotta love loose rock beds.
    Thanks for the tips as usual, and you’re right, there’s nothing like finishing up a strong hill work out for an instant confidence boost. Glad your runs were fun this weekend.
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  9. I am trying to focus on speed work as I prepare for a half marathon in November. I’ve got the endurance part down and now just want to improve my time. I’m hoping to fit in more hill repeats and other speed work, so I’ll checking back for ideas. Thanks!

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