2+1 Hill workouts for strength, speed and endurance

Hill workouts provide your athletes with a dynamic training session that can target a wide-ranging set of goals; that is, depending on the type of workout. With benefits like power, strength, speed — and injury prevention, if done right — hills should have a place in the training programs you design for your endurance athletes. But, as a coach, you want to make sure that your athletes are executing the right type of hill repeats for their needs and goals, right?

To that end, below we touch on two basic types of hill repeats — plus a bonus one — that you can incorporate into your athletes’ training program, starting today.

2+1 Hill workouts to include in your athletes’ training program

We’ve already talked about the benefits of hill repeats, in a previous article. To remind you, while adding a few more, for perspective, hill workouts can improve:

  • Strength, speed, and endurance
  • Form, stride, and cadence
  • Race times
  • Muscle and joint flexibility
  • Metabolism
  • Mental toughness

Today, we’ll look into two (plus one 😊) hill workouts that you can implement in your training plans, to maximize an athlete’s speed, strength and endurance. In addition, we’ll offer a few tips to share with your runners, in order to streamline their training; and, of course, safeguard them from potential injuries.

1. Short hill workout

Short hill repeats are probably the first type of workout that comes to mind when someone thinks of hill training. What are short hills? In short 😁, short hill workouts equal fast hill workouts. Because this workout is usually performed at a higher speed — and on hills that have a steeper incline — it’s a great type of workout for improving your athletes’ speed and strength. 

However, short hills are intense; so, it’s best to include them in your athletes’ training after they’ve built an aerobic base; and, naturally, during the phases of training that are focused on speed. 

2. Long hill workout

Long hills are differently challenging from the short hill reps. They’re not as intense, speed-wise; but they do require endurance. That’s why it’s perfect for long-distance runners. Yet, this means that they’re a mentally challenging workout, as well.

When can you add long hills to an athlete’s program? For starters, after they’ve built a solid base on both muscular and aerobic capacity. Indeed, log hill workouts help athletes prepare for the more challenging hill workouts that follow. One thing to keep in mind with this type of workout is the grade of the hill. That is to say, it should not be as steep as the short hills. Long hill workouts are meant to be run at a slower pace and on a smoother hill. 

Bonus workout: Treadmill hill workout 

ΟΚ, a treadmill, per se, doesn’t count as a hill workout, but it’s the ideal equipment to use for a hill session; especially if your athletes don’t live nearby hilly terrains. A treadmill can also come in handy in bad weather — for athletes who live nearby hills, too. This way, nobody breaks their hill workout routine.

Thankfully, athletes can perform almost any hill workout on the treadmill; including the aforementioned ones. Modern treadmills include various incline options that your athletes can select from. Thus, they can complete hill reps on the treadmill focusing on speed, strength, or endurance; based on your instructions and guidelines.

3 Hill training tips for your athletes

1. Take a few minutes to warm up and cool down properly

As mentioned, hill workouts can be intense. Hence, you should make sure that your athletes understand the importance of a proper warm-up and cool-down. A good warm-up before a hill workout may be, for instance:

  • a low-intensity run,
  • light running drills for form, and 
  • muscle and joint stretches.

As to the cool-down, stretching exercises are ideal, to counteract any muscle and joint soreness; and avoid any soreness the next day, too.

2. Watch out for uphill muscle strain 

Helping your athletes build proper form for uphill running is crucial. By all means, instruct them not to apply too much pressure on their muscles when running uphill. At the same time, you can help them develop a technique that will allow them to assume and retain the right posture during hill workouts; while using the right muscle group. 

3. Be careful of downhill eccentric activation

Running downhill, as easy and fun as it may seem, in reality, is dangerous. As you know, when descending, the leg muscles go through eccentric stress. And, if your athletes are not careful, it can damage their muscles, joints and tissues. Instead of running, they should step lightly — either jogging or walking — when going downhill, as a restorative workout for the muscles. It will be a good chance to enjoy the view, too. 😊

Plan and monitor your athletes’ hill workouts, with Endogusto

No matter the fitness level of your runners, there’s a hill training routine that’s right for them. Before you implement hill workouts into an athlete’s training, though, you should first consider their goals. Also, you should mind their current fitness status; and where they are within their training season (macrocycle, mesocycle, microcycle). 

In any case, you can always help your athletes achieve maximum performance with a little help from science and technology. That said, Endogusto offers you the best of both worlds, to build the optimal strength, speed, and endurance training programs for your athletes, fast. So, what are you waiting for? Plan and monitor your athlete’s hill workouts today, with Endogusto!

Register here for free, and give Endogusto a go.

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2+1 Hill workouts for strength, speed and endurance was last modified: April 7th, 2023 by Eleni Konstantinidou