I grew up in a hilly Boston neighborhood and fell in love with incline running while home from college during summer break; this meant zigzagging up-and-down steep side streets and finishing with a quarter-mile hilly trek up Bunker Hill Street. Fast forward to life as a military family— most of our assignments have been in areas with hilly running paths…running the hills along the Missouri River in Great Falls, Montana; craggy inclines on the trails in Germany; hill repeats with Stroller Warriors Fort Belvoir on the Lewis Hill at Outdoor Rec— for years it was hard to find a flat running route. Then came my last two assignments in South Carolina— a hill drought. My daily running route is flat and without any options for hills! I know that the treadmill offers options for hill training, but running outdoors with friends is always more appealing and enjoyable!
Living in a location with mostly flat terrain hasn’t stopped me from running long-distance races with steep inclines and rolling hills. I’ve adapted my workout routine to ensure I stay conditioned for hilly running routes:
1). At least once every few weeks I complete a 30-minute incline run on the treadmill.
2). I make it a point to include at least 10-minutes of strength training after my runs— working in weighted step-ups or box jumps are great for hill training.
3). On the weekends, I do a longer running workout mixed with a variation of cardiovascular exercises and strength training. For example:
4 rounds of:
- 1 mile run
- 25 box jumps
- 20 deadlifts
- 15 burpees
- 10 double unders
4). I break up my runs into an “Every Minute on the Minute” (EMOM) structure in the middle—completing 1 mile of running, 1 mile with an EMOM of lunges, and ending with another mile.
In the past 2-weeks, I’ve enjoyed several hilly runs in North Carolina and Ohio— feeling strong and ready to tackle more incline running routes in the future!