A Guide to Hill Intervals or Hill Repeats

 

What are Hill Repeats or Hill Intervals?

The other day my coach added some new workouts, which included hill repeats.  I had not done these before and this is how they were describedl

These intervals are done at 10 out 10 RPE [rate of perceived effort]. They’re all out during the 2 minutes with equal recovery. They’ll hurt, but that’s how you know you’re doing them right! The grade of the hill should be moderate (6-7%) so that you’re working much harder but can still get decent turn over. Make sense?

 To which I replied:

So essentially it is run up a hill as fast as you can for 2 minutes and then do it 6 times.

Where as before I was running fast and keeping my pace the same for all the intervals.

Does this sound right?

Which was correct,  Up a hill, as fast as your can for 2 minutes. Easy enough in concept.

 

My Hill Interval Workout

Warm up 15 min. 6 intervals at 2 minutes each at a 10 out of 10 effort level.  Equal recovery time between intervals. I chose 2 minute recovery. Cool down remaining time.  Entire workout should be about 1 hour.

 

How I Ran the Hill Repeats

I ran to a long continuous hill near my house. It is a long hill but the steepness varies, sometimes it levels off and even drops down a bit.  Even thought the hill is not 100% consistent, it was my first time out and the best that I could think of at the time.

little willeo elevation

 

So I ran and got close to the bottom (where the above image starts), turned around, hit my lap button and ran up the hill all out for two minutes.  

When I got to two minutes, I hil the lap button, turned around and headed down the hill at a much slower pace, maybe around 11min/mile.

After two minutes of heading downhill, I turned around, hit the lap button, and ran all out for two minutes up the hill.  

I repeated the process for a total of six times.

 

When you look at the big picture, I started and the bottom of the hill ran up for 2 minutes, then ran 3/4 of that distance the way back down, then back up for 2 minutes, then 3/4 of that distance back down. 

Gradually working my way to the top. If you do this make sure you start low enough on the hill.

 

My Results

“Up the hill intervals” 

  1. 7:33 min/mile
  2. 7:50 min/mile
  3. 7:50 min/mile
  4. 8:53 min/mile
  5. 9:01 min/mile
  6. 8:43 min/mile

What I am not sure of right now is how much elevation was gained on each interval. I know some of the intervals had a steeper parts of the hill than others.  

Maybe I can work the elevation details out.

All in all it was a great workout and I was pretty well done by the end of it, it did leave me with a few questions.

 

Hill Repeat Questions

How much should the change in elevation affect your pace?

Is it normal for the pace to drop from 7:30 to 9:01?  Should I have tried to keep my pace faster during the last ones.  (not sure if I could have)

Is this the right approach to running hill intervals?

What was the change in elevation for each of my intervals?

Were the hills too steep?

Is this a good place to go back to or should I look for a new hill?

Should my recovery paces be faster than they were?

Should my warm up and cool down paces be faster than they were?

Any other observations or places I can improve on this type of workout?

 

Conclusion

 I found this to be a great workout and to me it really made me work.

I think as I run more of these they will be come more familiar and I will get better at them.

 

Have you run hill repeats before?  Is this how you did them?  What suggestions would you make? What questions do you have?

Put them in the comments below and we will get it figured out together. — Steven