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Your Weekly Running Workout: 30 Minute Hill Pyramid Workout

If you live in a hilly area or have easy access to a treadmill, this run will give you a lung-busting workout in 30 minutes. Hills allow you to build both strength and speed in just a 30-minute workout. The intervals begin short and progressively increase in duration from 30 seconds to 90 seconds, and then you work your way back down the pyramid. 30 minutes will fly by and before you know it, you’ll have your run done!

Whether you are training for a hilly trail race or flat road race, hill repeats will improve your speed and strength without wearing on your body in the same way as a track workout. Running uphill places less stress on your joints and muscles but the extra resistance from fighting gravity means you work harder to run uphill.

The easy running should feel comfortable enough that you could carry on a conversation, as you are gradually easing from rest to hard running and then again from hard running to rest. The hard efforts should be hard enough that your breathing is noticeably labored, even within the shorter intervals. Do not worry about pace, since the demands of running hard uphill are different than the demands of running fast on flat terrain.

The Workout

  • Run at an easy effort for 10 minutes to warm up.
  • Run uphill hard for 30 seconds and jog back down to recover.
  • Run uphill hard for 45 seconds and jog back down to recover.
  • Run uphill hard for 60 seconds and jog back down to recover.
  • Run uphill hard for 90 seconds and jog back down to recover.
  • Run uphill hard for 60 seconds and jog back down to recover.
  • Run uphill hard for 45 seconds and jog back down to recover.
  • Run uphill hard for 30 seconds and jog back down to recover.
  • Run at an easy effort for 5-10 minutes to cool down.

If you are on the treadmill, set the incline to 4-6% for the uphill intervals and 0% for the recovery intervals. Allow a few seconds for the treadmill to adjust before starting the intervals. If you are running outside, pick a hill that is noticeably steep – enough that you feel an aerobic strain even running up it at an easy effort – but not so steep that your form changes significantly when you run up it.

Unfortunately there is not an audio cue for hills in the app (at least not yet!) so use the cues for fast running to indicate a hill interval. Start tracking the workout here and you’ll be on to the next thing on your to do list before your know it.

Laura Norris

About the author:
Laura Norris

Laura Norris is a certified running coach, distance runner, and blogger over at This Runner's Recipes. She loves helping runners achieve their personal best through providing useful, well-researched information on running and nutrition. Beyond running, Laura enjoys craft beer, hiking with her husband and dog, and cooking.

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