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Hill workout and lessons from the Tinman Elite running team

Try this workout from one of the top running teams in the U.S.

Every runner knows this, but it’s worth repeating: running up hills will make you a stronger runner. Not only will you improve physically, but your mental game will be tested and reinforced whenever you tackle a hill session. The Tinman Elite running team, which is based in Boulder, Colo., recently posted a video from an intense hill workout, and while the members of the crew are some of the best runners in the U.S., it’s a session even beginners can complete (although that doesn’t mean it’s easy).

The workout

This particular Tinman Elite hill session is quite simple: 12 x 1 minute uphill followed by 150m repeats on the track. For this run, you’ll need to find a long hill. It doesn’t have to be incredibly steep, but it should be long.

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Depending on where you live, you might not be able to find a hill that will take a minute to climb. If that’s the case, don’t stress. Simply find the longest hill in your area and when you get to the top, carry on until your minute is up. Some hill is better than no hill, after all.

When you start this workout, keep consistency in mind. Consistency is the key to all hill training, and it is definitely required in this workout. If you start too quickly, you could burn yourself out long before you hit even the halfway mark. On the other hand, if you go too slowly, you won’t get the best benefits from the session.

Try to run the same clip for every repeat, and if you find that it’s feeling a little easier than expected, try picking up the pace until you get to the point where it’s tough but not difficult that you won’t be able to finish the workout. When it comes to rest, walk or jog back down the hill and start the next repeat when you get to the bottom.

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Unfortunately, the Tinman Elite video didn’t include their 150m repeats, but six to eight repeats (depending on how you feel after the hills) on the track or a flat stretch of road should work well.

Workout variations

If you saw this workout and thought that 12 x 1 minute uphill is way too much for you, don’t worry, you’re allowed to make adjustments. Instead of running 12 repeats, reduce it to eight, six or even four. If you’d like to run 12 reps but still think it’s too long, cut the time to 30 or 45 seconds.

The Tinman Elite runners are amazing athletes, and while this workout was no doubt tough for them, they all knew they were capable of completing it. You shouldn’t feel bad if you can’t finish the same number of repeats as they do, so make changes where necessary.

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Lessons from the run

There were a few valuable lessons caught in this video. Just before they start running, Tinman Elite team member Drew Hunter tells his crew, “This is not like you’re trying to win the workout, it’s just another good, solid session.”

Later on, Tinman’s Joey Berriatua admits that he’s struggling on the day. “I’m not feeling as good as last week, but I’ve just got to kind of get through [this],” he says. “It’s just more of a mental challenge today.” After he says this, one of his teammates chimes in, saying, “But that’s running.”

After the workout, the camera goes back to Berriatua, who looks beaten down and exhausted. “Not every day is going to be an A-plus day,” he says. “You can’t always control if you feel good on a workout day, no matter how much preparation you do for it.” He continues, saying it’s important to “battle through” these tough moments and to “get back better for the next workout.”

These three instances all present wonderful and important lessons for all runners.

Number 1: Don’t race in training. You’re not trying to win the workout, you’re trying to run consistently so you can improve ahead of your next race.

Number 2: Some days are more of a mental challenge than a physical one. “That’s running,” as Berriatua’s teammate said. Instead of feeling defeated when you hit barriers, use these moments as opportunities to grow mentally.

Number 3: Working off Number 2, you’re going to have bad days when workouts feel tougher than usual. That doesn’t mean it’s time to quit, and it’s important to finish the run anyway.

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