As we transition from one season to another, now is an ideal time to get outdoors, get fit and have some fun with your exercise routine. Whether you’re just starting to run after a few months off or building up for the next season, this is a great time to engage in short, intense workouts that develop speed and strength. Enter this week’s workout: hill sprints.

RELATED: Why short, 30-second bursts will make you a faster runner

How do I do them properly?

Hill sprints are a fun and effective, albeit tough, way of adding a physical and mental boost to your running routine while also safely avoiding overuse injury.

Hill sprints should be short– generally at least 10 and up to a max of about 20 seconds-and are meant to be done at a relatively fast pace, hence the term “sprint.” To do them, find a relatively steep hill which could be road, trail or just some grass in a field or park. Start at the bottom and run hard straight up the hill at a very fast pace. Assuming you start out hard, you will likely slow down even after just a few seconds, but see if you can do a full 10-20 seconds at the hardest effort you can maintain.

At the end of each sprint, you should be breathing very deeply and your heart rate will be greatly elevated. Gently walk or jog slowly back to bottom taking at least a minute to recover and then do another. Aim to do between five and 10 hills which together adds up to no more than five minutes of hard running in total.

Disclaimer: These will feel incredibly tough. You will likely want to stop. Don’t. Know that this type of effort is providing a massive boost to your speed, strength, running form, mental toughness and overall fitness. It’s one of the best ways to get fast gains for the lowest investment of time. It’s also relatively low risk and takes little time to recover from. Do this type of workout once or twice a week and gradually aim to add a few reps each week. We guarantee the effort will be worth it.

Do this type of workout once or twice a week as part of or after a scheduled easy run. Gradually aim to add a few reps each week or increase the length of the sprints until you’re running 15-20 seconds at a time. We guarantee the effort will be worth it.


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