Your Hill Workout Questions, Answered

by - Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lots of people left me comments yesterday asking me the specifics of my hour-long hill workout.

Basically I've become super obsessed with the "Hill" setting on the treadmill at my gym because it pre-programs hills of all different lengths and steepness and I don't have to worry about messing with any settings while I'm running. Normally, I'm not a fan of treadmill running, but I recognize it can be kind of useful in some situations, like when you need to run really steep hills.

Treadmill settings:

  • Hill setting
  • Level 10 (my treadmill gives me the options of 1--20. I've found 10 and 11 are plenty of butt kicking enough, especially for longer workouts)
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Speed: 6.0/10 minute miles (Pick a speed that's similar to what you run up hills outside, but adjust based on length of your workout)
The Warm-up:

The program starts with five about minutes of what I call "rolling hills." The incline isn't very steep, but you do a lot of up and down to get your legs ready for the steep climbs later in the workout.

Once your warmed up, the real workout starts.

The Workout:

The workout is broken into cycles that are about seven to eight minutes in length. In each cycle, you spend one minute climbing and then one minute recovering and the hills get progressively larger each minute within the cycle.

For example, my first hill was a 4.5, the next was 5.5, the third was 6.5 and the last was 7.8.

Then after a minute of recovery, the cycle would repeat again.

It was a pretty brutal workout and unless you live in a super hilly area with hills of all different sizes, I don't think it would be all that easy to replicate outside. So as annoying and boring as treadmill running can be, I think there are certain instances when it's valuable.

Plus I get a real kick out of watching the little hills show up on the treadmill monitor as I'm covering inclines. Watching the hills come and go on the screen almost takes my mind off the fact that I'm stuck in a gym on the treadmill.

I hope that answers your question about my hill workout, but if it doesn't or if you have more questions just let me know in the comments.

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