Tips for Getting that 5k PR (Part 2: Hills)

Welcome back to the second installment in this 4 part series on conquering your 5k PR. This weeks tips are in the form of hill training. We all know that hills suck during a race, but with the proper training, they may not be too bad….? Well, that may not be the case, but you will be more prepared for them when they show up in your next race. Let’s hop right into it.

Hill training

Another important element for improving your pace is by utilizing hills. We’ve all run races where there was a dreaded hill within the course that seemed to destroy runners’ pace and sometimes their spirit. It becomes the point where it can make or break you and it’ll make you decide how much you’re willing to push yourself. If you workout on hills before your race, they will seem easier and make you stronger. The benefits of working on your hill training include improving your form with driving your arms to pump your legs forward, physical and mental strength, endurance, speed, and quicker recovery. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Find a steep hill around your area that’s just steep enough to make you work up a little sweat just walking up.
  2. Warmup for at least 15 – 20 minutes (not on the hill) prior to get you body loosened up, then take an additional 5 minutes to stretch (especially your quads and butt) and grab a quick drink of water.
  3. Starting at the bottom of the hill, set your watch and sprint up the hill approx. 75% – 90% of your maximum effort (don’t go all out because you have a few to do). Keep your eyes towards the top, pick your knees up and move to the balls of your feet (no heels on the ground), and allow your arm swing to pump your legs up. The arm swing is key to moving your legs up the hill as it’s just as much of a an arm workout as it is a legs.
  4. Stop your watch at the top of the hill and begin your descent making sure you don’t slap your feet. You want this to be a controlled downhill recovery. Take a few deep breaths and stop at the bottom for a minute.
  5. Repeat this 4 more times.
  6. After the last hill, stop at the bottom and stretch out for a few minutes, then go for a cooldown run for about 10 – 15 minutes, then stretch again.

Note: The time on your watch for the first sprint will probably be your fastest, but try to keep your times as close as possible.


Next up is Long Slow Distance Runs!

Need a little bit of speed work? Check out last weeks post for speed training


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