Living in Chicago, I’ve never had to utter the words “I thought that hill was never going to end!” while out for a run. Gorgeous lakefront, great running trails and a few pretty incredible running groups…but no hills. Running hills is actually a great workout. If you live in a hilly area, a good workout is steps away. If you live in a flat area, you may need to improvise on a treadmill.

Building “hills” into your workout can really benefit your body. The intensity of hill runs is generally greater, but the duration is generally shorter. A few of the benefits include:

 

  1. Increased Lung Capacity: The intensity of running hills is almost always more challenging, thus requiring you to dig deep, possibly running anaerobically (or without oxygen). As your running the hills you may feel uncomfortable with difficulty catching your breath. But if you’re in good health, you lungs will only get stronger making all workouts easier.
  2. Improved Hamstring and Glute Stength: The back of your legs (hamstrings) and your bottom (glutes) get a much more intensive workout than running “flat.”
  3. Improved Speed: If you want to become a faster runner, commit to a few months of hill workouts (a couple times a week). Don’t be surprised if you average pace improves significantly!

Here is a hill/combo workout that combines three (3) sets of hills/flats with a few essential core and glute exercises for a good overall workout that gets you in and out of the gym in 45 minutes!
Warm Up Easy Run for 5 Minutes
Hill Interval 1:
Set pace to 1 minute/mile slower than your “long run” or “easy” pace. If you run at 6.5, set the pace to 5.5.
HILL
Increase incline to 3%, hold for 1 minute
Increase incline to 4%, hold for 1 minute
Increase  incline to 5%, hold for 1 minute
FLAT
Decrease incline to 0%, increase speed to 1 minute per mile faster than your long/easy run pace. If you run at 6.5, set the pace to 7.5
Hold faster pace for 3 minutes
RECOVER
Walk/Jog 2 minutes

 Hill Intervals 2 & 3:
Set pace to 1 minute/mile slower than your “long run” or “easy” pace.
HILL
Increase incline to 4%, hold for 1 minute
Increase incline to 5%, hold for 1 minute
Increase  incline to 6%, hold for 1 minute
FLAT
Decrease incline to 0%, increase speed to 1 minute per mile faster than your long/easy run pace.
Hold faster pace for 3 minutes
RECOVER
Walk/Jog 2 minutes.

Core/Strength Essentials
You’ll need a medicine ball or 8lb+ dumbbell and a wall. This is one circuit you’ll repeat three times. With a short recovery between each circuit, you should be done in about 15 minutes.

  1. Straight Arm Plank Hold for 30 seconds then go immediately into the Mountain Climber.
  2. Mountain Climber Repeat 40 times/alternating for 20 on each side.
  3. Wall Squat Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Oblique Twist Repeat 30 times/alternating for 15 on each side.

Repeat circuit a total of three times. Let me know what you think!

 

 

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