“Running hills breaks up your rhythm and forces your muscles to adapt to different stresses. The result? You become a stronger runner.”
-Eamonn Coughlin

Hi everyone!  I had an awesome workout this morning involving some shoulder and ab work, followed up by a run.  I have enjoyed short but intense runs and this morning’s 4 mile run was no joke!  I get tired and bored of the treadmill, so I took advantage of cooler weather to run outside.  I’ll admit, sometimes when I run outside, I can also get so unmotivated and don’t seem to be able to pick up my pace and heart rate.  Do you ever feel the same?  Days like these are perfect for hill intervals…

Here’s how to create your own hill interval workout:

  1.  Find a Hill!  Okay maybe this is the most obvious part of a hill interval workout, but for some it could prove to be the most challenging part.  Thankfully I lived in a town FULL of hills; literally my apartments sits on top of a one, its unavoidable for me.  However, for some, you might have to run to a nearby park or neighborhood to find the slopes.
  2.  RUN!  Another obvious…but once I realized I had these great hills at my disposal, I just had to get out there and start running.  You could either map out a run ahead of time, or go with the flow.  I went with the flow around my neighborhood and found a great loop with 2 intense hill climbs built-in. The great thing about mapping it out on the internet, or using a garmin if you have one, is you can see the elevation of your run!  My run today gained a max of 157 ft with a descent of -167 ft!
  3.  Mix It Up!  Now that you have found a nice hilly run, don’t feel stuck to the one workout.  The great part about running outside is that the possibilities are endless.  The first day of my hill loop, I ran the loop twice to include about 4 steep climbs for a total of 25 minutes of running.  Today, I added a loop in a nearby neighborhood for a total of 6 steep hills and 35 minutes of running.  You can also repeat loops, run your route in reverse, or tack on more hills to switch it up.  Even if you can only find one good hill, just repeat the climb up and jog back down increasing speed each time until you have reached an interval goal.

Throughout your run, don’t be afraid of the hill.  Keep your pace as steady as you can, focusing on controlling your breathing, and kicking the hills butt!

You can also use the idea of hill intervals if you are walking or biking…its a multipurpose workout mix up!

So what if you really don’t have access to some great hills?  Don’t fear!  You can either stick to the treadmill and mix up your run by increasing the incline.  Or, you can forget the hills altogether, and instead do speed intervals during your run.  For example, every other block, increase your speed, or sprint between markers.

“Love hills and they will love you back.” author unknown
I was feeling the love this morning…hope you will too!