Training

Hill Running

Running uphill is hard work but it can give a real boost to your training, putting you through an intense workout in a short space of time. Here’s what you need to know:

Plan your route

Take a look at your regular training routes and see if they already include any hills. If not, have a think about how you could alter your routes, or use our route planner to find a new run in your area.

Approach it gently

Like any type of exercise, if you’re new to hill running you need to approach it sensibly. Start with gentle hills, short distance and a slow pace, gradually building up the intensity.

Running uphill will work your muscles in a different way to flat road running, so to avoid injury you need to let your body adjust. Your legs will feel more tired than usual after hill running, so try running a little slower the following day to help them recover before your next session.

Top tips

Once you’re acclimatised to hills, here are our tips to help you get the most from your hill running sessions:

  • Be prepared to attack the hill before you reach it, so you’ve picked up pace as you reach the bottom.
  • As you run up the hill pump your arms and shorten the length of your strides, but take faster strides to keep up the pace.
  • At the end of your hill running workout, you should feel like you’ve worked hard, but you could manage one more hill if you had to.
  • Get plenty of practice – it’s the only way to get better at hill running and improve your technique.

Example workouts

Here are some hill workouts you might like to try during your training for the Virgin Money London Marathon. Start with the beginner’s workout, moving onto the next when you’re ready. Don’t forget to have a thorough warm up before you start each session.

Beginner

Run 100m uphill and repeat 6 to 8 times, walking back slowly to the start each time to allow your legs to recover. Start with gentle hills, getting steeper as you progress.

Intermediate

Run 100 to 150m uphill and repeat 10 times, jogging back gently to the start each time. When you’ve done this, jog for 5 to 10 minutes then repeat.

Advanced

Make sure you build up gently to this workout – it’s tough and takes around 2 hours to complete. Repeat the following steps 3 times:

  • Step 1
    Run 100m uphill and repeat 8 times, jogging back gently to the start each time.
  • Step 2
    Jog for 5 minutes.
  • Step 3
    Run 200m uphill and repeat 4 times, jogging back gently to the start each time.
  • Step 4
    Jog for 5 minutes.
  • Step 5
    Run 100m uphill and repeat 8 times, jogging back gently to the start each time.
  • Step 6
    Jog for 5 minutes.