Tips For Running Uphill

Get over it. End of post.

I’m hilarious right? :-P

No really, today we’re going to talk about hill running. I personally love hilly runs. My area is pretty hilly so all of my runs have various uphills and downhills. I feel like I do better in hilly races, which is why I’m kind of nervous for the Philly Half which is pretty flat. 

I feel like my strength lies in hill running, and I regularly had my XC team do hill sprints during our season. So let’s talk about tips!

Hill Running Tips

Photo Credit: hypotekyfidler.cz via Compfight cc

Climb the rope. As you’re running uphill, use your arms for power. I like to envision myself pulling a rope to climb up. With every arm swing, I’m grabbing the rope and pulling myself up. It might be a silly visualization, but it works for me! Don’t let your arms just flail around as you get tired. Move them with strength and purpose. The more powerful your arm swing, the faster you’ll go and stronger you’ll feel.

Knee drive. Power through the knees. One cue I like is, “drive your knees.” Basically, drive your arms and knees forward with power and really focus on having that power. Half of it is a mental battle, and if you make yourself feel strong you will be. Lift your knees up with every step and push forward.

Maintain even effort. This can be hard in a 5K race, where you want to maintain a certain pace, but don’ t try to do this on a hill. If it’s a steep, steady climb, you’ll hate yourself about halfway through. Once you get to the hill, slow down and maintain 5K effort. Focus on your breathing and how you feel. If it starts feeling tougher, slow down a bit and just keep going.

Accelerate at the end. When most runners get to the top of a hill in a race they slow down a bit to catch their breath and recover. This is your chance to pass them! Start training to speed up at the top of a hill. I do this outside and on a treadmill, and have my runners do it too. Add hill intervals to the end of a run, then once you get to the top accelerate as much as you can once it flattens out (for about 15-20 seconds, then rest & repeat). This will train you to speed up even when you’re legs are fatigued, and you’ll feel awesome passing runners once you crest a hill.

Practice mental strength. For me, mantras and visualizations help me during tough runs. On hills, I just keep telling myself that I’m running on flat ground. When the going gets tough, have a mantra or something ready that you’ll repeat to yourself. Or simply just have a mental image of you feeling strong, looking strong, and powering up a hill like an elite runner. Sounds cheesy but we all know mental strength plays a huge factor in running!

Do you have a mantra or phrase you use in your running?

Do you prefer hilly courses or flat courses? I like moderately hilly!


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Quick Hill Interval Workout

Are you limited on time or just want a good finisher after a lifting workout? Then you have to try this hill interval workout I did yesterday!

My mom and I were sweating bullets once we were done, and it only took about 10 minutes (or maybe less). 

Doing hill sprints helps torch calories as well as make you stronger – which is a great thing if you’re a runner. Adding in hill intervals will help build speed, strength and endurance. 

Here’s the workout:

Hill Sprint Workout


  1. Warm up for 5-10 minutes. Obviously skip this step if you have been lifting or exercising prior to this and are using this as a finisher.
  2. Start running! Take a 1 minute break in between each interval. I like to walk or slow jog.
  3. Cool down & walk for 5 minutes once you’re done.

Like I said, perfect for when you’re short on time but want to get in a good sweat.

Do you like hill sprints? I know some people hate them but I love them. I also like hillier courses better than flatter race courses. How about you?


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Step Interval Class Review

So I decided to try a new class yesterday at my gym (YMCA). I’ve been trying classes with my dad, but he couldn’t make it so I was kind of nervous to try it on my own. I honestly didn’t even know what step interval was, but figured it was a lot of step-ups and lunges on a box…I was kinda right…

The instructor helped me set up with my box, light and heavy weights, and a band for stretching.

Class started with a warm-up which I was fine with, but soon the choreography started…

It wasn’t that bad. It did consist of stepping up and down and lunges, but also hopping over/across the box, step-up with knee tucks, step-up with leg curl, and other moves. The one move I got confused with was “around-the-world lunges.” It involved crossing your feet over then onto the other side of the box? I can’t even explain it. I just watched the others and couldn’t help but laugh to myself because I felt so lost and uncoordinated.

When you think of step aerobics, you might think of something from the 70s or 80s, but this was definitely a great workout. I was sweating a ton and my heart rate was up. Perhaps it was because I was working EXTRA hard to get the moves right and not trip over myself ;)

In between the stepping, we took some breaks where we picked up the weights to do squats with bicep curls, plie squats with shoulder raises, balancing moves with tricep exercises and more. It was a great total body workout. The only thing I will do next time is make my step 1 step higher. I think I could have handled that, but didn’t want to try on my first class.

At the end of the class we did some abs and stretching.

I think I will be back for this class! If you’re interested and live in the NJ area, this class is held at the Somerset Hills YMCA.

After the class, I wanted to get in a tiny bit of running, so I did some hill sprints. I did:

10.0 incline, 9.0 speed -> 30 seconds

1 min. walk

9.0 incline, 8.0 speed -> 30 seconds

1 min. walk

8.0 incline, 7.0 speed -> 30 seconds

1 min. walk

5.0 incline, 7.3 speed (5K pace for me) -> 1 min.

2 min. walk

9.0 incline, 9.0 speed -> 30 seconds

Cooldown walk.

Overall, a great workout day! Heading back to the gym later for chest and back day.

I’m going to try to film a workout this weekend – which would you prefer? “Stair Workout (all you need is your stairs)” or “Total Body HIIT”?

Let me know if in the comments!


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Hill Workout on the Treadmill

Whether it’s because of the weather or because you live in a flat area, sometimes an outdoor hill run just isn’t possible.

Recently, once a week I have tried to incorporate hills into my run, and usually it’s been on the treadmill. I like hills on the treadmill because you can control the incline. Below you will find my own hill workout I’ve created, which usually amounts to 3 miles. If you do a shorter warm-up or cut the 3 minute break into less time, it will be less miles (obviously).

Since I’m just starting half-marathon training, these are different than hill sprints. I am not doing hill sprints. These are simply running at an incline at a normal pace. I do not change my pace on the treadmill while doing these. Hill sprints are great but once you have built up a running base. So, if my running pace that day is 10 minutes per mile (or 6.0 speed) that’s the speed I keep it at the whole time…unless of course I want to walking break ;)

Let me know if you decide to try this workout on your next treadmill run! I love it…it helps pass the time and make the dreadmill not so boring :)

hilltreadHow do you make the treadmill less boring? Any sort of interval workout works for me. I cannot run at a steady pace and not be bored out of my mind!