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Run Strong! Hill Workouts to Run Stronger and Faster

 

The Plan

You don't need to aim for supersteep to reap benefits, Darren De Reuck says. Look for a hill with a long, steady incline (a slight three- to five-degree slope), or jump on a treadmill to replicate his runs below.

In the Park

0 to 5:00 Warm-up (Do jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, then an easy run.)

5:00 to 9:00 Strides (Pick up the pace for 30 seconds, then slow to an easy run/walk for 30 seconds. Do 4 sets total.)

9:00 to 11:00 Steady run uphill

11:00 to 13:00 Steady run downhill

13:00 to 14:30 Easy walk/run recovery

14:30 to 18:30 Hill sprints (Alternate between a 60-second sprint uphill and a 60-second easy run downhill. Do 2 sets.)

18:30 to 23:30 Hill sprints (Alternate between a 90-second sprint uphill and a 1-minute steady run downhill. Do 2 sets.)

23:30 to 27:30 Hill runs (Run steadily uphill for 2 minutes and steadily downhill for 2 minutes.)

27:30 to 33:00 Easy walk/run cool-down
 

On the Treadmill

0 to 5:00 Incline 0, Speed 5.5, Warm-up

5:00 to 9:00 Incline 0, Speed 5.5 to 6.5, Strides (Pick up the pace for 30 seconds, then return to a warm-up pace for 30 seconds. Do 4 sets total.)

9:00 to 11:00 Incline 3, Speed 6.5, Moderate run

11:00 to 13:00 Incline 0, Speed 7.0, Hard run

13:00 to 14:30 Incline 0, Speed 4.5 to 5.0, Easy run

14:30 to 15:30 Incline 3 to 4, Speed 7.0 to 7.5, Sprint

15:30 to 16:30 Incline 0, Speed 4.5 to 5.0, Easy run

16:30 to 22:30 Repeat the 60-second sprint and 60-second easy run intervals 3 more times.

22:30 to 24:00 Incline 0, Speed 4.5 to 5.0, Easy run

24:00 to 25:30 Incline 4 to 5, Speed 7.0 to 7.5, Sprint

25:30 to 26:30 Incline 0, Speed 4.5 to 5.0, Easy run

26:30 to 34:00 Repeat the 90-second sprint and 60-second easy run intervals 3 more times.

34:00 to 35:30 Incline 0, Speed 4.5 to 5.0, Easy run

35:30 to 37:30 Incline 3, Speed 6.5, Moderate run

37:30 to 40:00 Incline 0, Speed 4.5 to 5.5, Easy run cool-down

More Tips for Success

Build more boing. Twice a week, follow De Reuck's recipe for extra climbing power: three sets of 10 squat jumps (squat down, then jump onto a bench); two sets of 10 hamstring machine curls (five reps per leg); two sets of 10 calf raises standing on both legs; then 10 reps of single-leg raises per leg.

Keep it snappy. Shortening your stride and working on quicker turnover help conserve energy, and your quads and knees take less of a pounding going downhill, De Reuck says. "Make sure your feet strike underneath your hips, not ahead of you."

Maintain your tilt. Uphill or down, tilt slightly forward from your ankles, not your waist, as you run, De Reuck says. This will correct the common back-straining no-nos of leaning too far forward on the incline and too far back on the decline.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, September 2013.

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