Training Hills for Sharpness

Hill repetitions can be a great addition to your training schedule & can be introduced on a regular basis or just be thrown in on the odd occasion to enhance your running performance.

Short intense bursts of effort over a gradual incline can have massive benefits for your strength, power & running speed. Another major outcome from regular short sharp uphill running can be an improvement in your running form which means having a more economical & efficient running style.

When running hill reps you are going to increase your fitness for sure but to get the most benefits from the sessions the idea when undertaking these workbouts is to concentrate on some of the following techniques:

  • Drive forward into the hill with a slight forward lean stemming from the ankles as opposed to the hips
  • Try to use a slightly aggsagerated running form with a high cadence ; pumping the arms & using a high knee lift pushing off the balls of your feet minimising ground contact.
  • Think form as opposed to flat out speed – run as smooth & relaxed as you can at a fast pace but not totally flat out
  • Maintain the intensity throughout each rep & if possible try to increase speed slightly as the session goes on
  • Try to concentrate on your breathing teqnique especially as you tire


These tips should help you get the most out of the session. As like any new form of running introduce gradually to your training programme. One session a week is enough. A good distance to start off with is between 100m & 150m or similarly just use time ( 30-40 seconds is ideal). Walking or very easy jog back down to the start will be your recovery period.   Remember the hill does not have to be too steep; just a nice gentle incline is sufficient. Ideally a smooth tarmac surface works best or short grass with no bobbles or hidden holes in the ground! Best of luck &  remember be patient & not over do it. You  should notice the difference come race day!


Here are 2 sample short hill rep sessions:

  • 10 minute easy jog warm up – 6 x 100m or 30 seconds uphill with very easy walk/ jog recovery from top back down to start – 10 min easy jog cool down
  • 10/15 minute easy jog warm up- 8 x 150m or 40 seconds uphill with very easy walk/ jog recovery – 10/15 minute easy cool down