Workout of the Week: 109 – How to Love Hills Pt.3

This week we continue our focus of quality-over-quantity in hill reps, but we’re introducing some accelerations to switch over to beast mode for the close of each rep.


6x 45-second uphill efforts
(w/ first 30s steady, final 10s fast)
2-3mins jog recoveries

Terrain: Moderate hill.

Gear-changing workouts are a fun way to add strength and intensity and also as a way to build your mental strength to finish well when you’re fatiguing.

The steady first 30 seconds of each rep should feel about 3-5k race intensity and the final 10 seconds more like 800m race intensity. So, it’s a noticeable jump in pace where you’ll need to dial in great technique and mental focus to round off each rep.


This workout has plenty of recovery to make sure you’re fresh at the start of each rep, which should keep the focus on moving well, not moving hard.

In a fresh state, your central nervous system is far more able to coordinate your movements and to learn make them more efficient.


The recovery jogs back down the hill should be super light and you will add more jog recovery time at the base of the hill as well to make sure you’re fully recovered before the next rep.

The location for this session is important. For those new to hill running, find a mild gradient (somewhere between 3-5%). And for those who have been following the last couple of weeks of training with us, you’ll be fine to tackle something more moderate (like 6-10%).

Finally, this workout is somewhat lighter than the typical session we do in Workout of the Week, so we’d encourage the regulars to include an additional session in your week of 3×8-minute fartlek (with 3min jogs) at a your one-hour race effort (avoid any nasty hills though!).




By Hayden Shearman

When you’re in a running race or a tough workout, do you feel like you’re the hunter or are you the one being hunted? Are you getting after it and hunting down your goals like the beast of prey that you are?

This week’s workout is designed to teach you those skills of getting after it when it counts, going harder when the going gets tougher, and digging deeper when the pain starts piling up. So, here are some more ideas on how to make you’re the hunter and not the hunted on your next race or big workout.

  1. Backend the Effort. Although to get the most out of yourself in a race, your splits should be even, your effort levels will ramp up as the race goes on. In much the same way that a lion would stalk its prey—starting controlled and calculated, accelerating into the chase, and closing with deathly intensity—so too our races should have effort levels that start well within ourselves, move into solid, then painful and then all-out gutsy to close. This is something we’re trying to replicate to a certain degree in this week’s workout.
  2. Conserve. Of course, in order to backend the effort, you need to be controlled and calculated early in the race or workout. This can catch out a lot of new runners who start a race full of energy and determination and soon find themselves going backwards after an explosive start. But real beast mode knows when and where to turn it on—the start is not the time for heroics (unless you’re David Rudisha and about to break the world 800m record in the Olympic final!).
  1. Know Yourself. A lion will know that it can’t out run a deer in a long pursuit, the lion has to play to its strengths of short sprints. It’s the same with us when we want to slot into beast mode. We need to know our strengths. Am I strong on hills or downhills? Am I a rhythm runner and prefer even splits or do I like some variety? Do I have a big kick and can wind it up at the finish? All these strengths will change the way you come up with a game plan for your race.
  2. Know the Course (a.k.a. the Prey). A lion will understand their prey, they will know to stay away from the vicious rear kicks or nasty horns. Likewise, how well do you know your course before you get there? Have you had a look at the hills? Have you checked the race info to find out about niggly details like locations of aid stations, call times, supplied nutrition and hydration on the course? If you know your prey well there’s a much better chance you can crush it!