Hill Work For Half Marathon Training

by | Jun 20, 2023 | Technical Articles

The best half marathon training sessions you’re not doing – yet!

How’s your half marathon training going? If you’re joining us at the Windsor Half Marathon in September – or doing any other Autumn half – you’ll have started training.

Does your training plan include any hill running sessions? If not, why not! Hill running is amazing for building strength, endurance, power, and pace over the half marathon distance.

And because the Windsor Half Marathon is an undulating course, with a climb at the start (and a descent at the end), we highly recommend you add hill training to your plan.

How to add hills to half marathon training

If you live in a hilly area, all of your runs will be a little bit hilly. But if you live at sea level or in a flat area, you’ll have to go out of your way to find hills. Either way, we recommend getting intentional about hill training sessions.

Do one or two purposeful “hill running” sessions every week during your half marathon training. This could be hill reps, repeats, or a hillier route.

Don’t avoid hills. We know, they’re tough. But this is exactly why they will benefit you so much.

Running up hills boosts your leg strength, power, and mental grit. Running down hills develops leg speed, confidence, and posture.

4 types of hill sessions

1. A hilly route. Choose an undulating route for your regular mid or long training runs. Try not to slow down on the hills, tackle them at your normal pace.

2. Hill reps. This classic session sees you warm up, then powering up a steep hill 6-12 times and jogging back down. Don’t do this every week – it’s equivalent to a sprint workout.

3. Out-and-back. Find a hill long enough to spend 3-5 minutes running up it. Run up and down it, aiming to keep a steady pace.

4. Varied distance. Find a long steady hill and run up it for 1 minute (then back down), 2 minutes (then back down) and so on, increasing by one minute until 4 minutes. Then decrease the time by one minute. This will result in 7 total runs up that hill.

When to introduce hill running sessions

Hill running is useful in every phase of your half marathon training except the end. Add hill sessions in right at the start (you can incorporate some kind of hill training even if you are starting from scratch). During your deload weeks, remove all hill sessions from your plan to allow your body to recover.

Useful reminders for hill training sessions

• Keep a steady pace and push at the top of the hill to build confidence
• Lean slightly forward and drive with your legs
• Keep your shoulders relaxed and drive with your elbows
• Shorten your stride slightly on uphills
• Look a few feet ahead of you up the hill

If you haven’t entered the Windsor Half Marathon yet, get involved! We can’t wait to see you at this beautiful and iconic half marathon. Click here to enter now.