Running hills is one of the easiest (and hardest) ways to improve your aerobic fitness and speed. And it might be one of the least complex exercises there is…you see a hill? Run it!
During the base building phases of training I suggest running hilly routes 1-2 times per week and letting one of those sessions be your long run, at least every other week. Running uphill, even if you are running at an easy pace, helps with your form, helps with increased aerobic fitness, and will increase muscular strength as well.
Once the base has been established I also believe in running hill repetitions. Hill repetitions are great prep for faster work that might be coming later in the training build up, but also are great themselves to get you prepared for hilly courses (road or XC), as well as prepping you to run fast on flatter courses (such as the track).
This summer is the perfect time to include some hill running into your running diet!
Sample hill workouts:
Easy run over a hilly course (rolling hills, not mountains).
Long run over a hilly course (rolling hills, not mountains).
Uphill tempo runs (3-4 miles either uphill, or with the second half uphill).
Hill repetitions (10-15 x 30-60 seconds uphill with an easy jog down rest).
Hill sprints (6-10 x 10-15 seconds fast uphill with walk down rest).