6 Hill Workouts for Runners

Head for the hills with these 6 hill workouts for runners to gain strength, speed and confidence in your running!

It’s another edition of Monthly Workouts for Runners BY Runners. Here’s the previous month’s workouts if you missed them:

Stuck Inside Workouts for Runners

Two-a-Day Workouts for Runners

Upper Body Workouts for Runners

Injury Prevention Exercises for Runners

This month, the focus is on hills. Something that I’ve had quite a bit of exposure to latey. Take it from this former hill hater – don’t avoid the hills!

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.

I’ll be honest, hill repeats can be a little monotonous. If you have one hill to run, the scenery can get old really fast. That’s why I like to play around with the time I spend running the hill. I love doing a pyramid workout on the track for speed so doing something similar for hills is the perfect way to jazz it up.

FYI – While I am a certified RRCA Running Coach, I am not your coach. Listen to your body and it’s limitations. Please check with your physician if you are new to exercise or have any questions regarding your health and exercise.

Build strength, stamina and speed with this dynamic Hill Pyramid Workout for Runners. happyfitmama.com


What goes up, must come down!

And here are even more Hill Workouts from 5 of my running friends. Pin away so you have a stash of workouts on hand whenever you need it.

Carly has a great 30-45-60 workout for you!

Hill running FINE FIT DAY

Nellie has a fun total body circuit.

Brooklyn Active Mama Nellie Hill WorkoutsAllie has a great workout that won’t let you shy away from the hills.


Laura has a combination hilly tempo that will be sure to build leg strength.

This Runners Recipes Hilly Tempo Run

Sarah wants us to #EmbraceTheHill. And you will with this workout.

Embrace the hill workout

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and the Running Coaches’ Corner.

Hills – love ’em or hate ’em?






19 comments on “6 Hill Workouts for Runners

  1. Thank you so much for linking up! This is perfect for our link up. ANd something that I definitely need to do more of. Good ole Chicago. I got my hill training in a big way this weekend when I went home to Atlanta, lol.

  2. Where was this when I was training for Big Sur? I’m going to pin this post for future reference.

    Since I was nursing my sore foot during Big Sur training, Becky had me doing a ton of sled pulls. That helped me prepare really well for those hills. I was surprised at how effective it was.

  3. I just can’t imagine what experience with hills you’ve had recently! 😉 I love how every month there’s such a difference in the workouts on the same theme. Gives me so many options when I’m planning training!

  4. LOVE hills! My hometown 10k course is all hills so we naturally get a hill workout in all the time. It’s made me such a stringer runner over the years.

  5. Love these hill workouts! I need to get some hills back in my life. My route is very hilly but working solely on hills has so many benefits.

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