The Beginner’s Guide to Hill Running (Benefits & Form)

Hill running is a challenging activity that tests your athleticism and endurance. However, it’s also super fun and rewarding.

If you’re interested in hill running but don’t know where to start, you’re in for a treat! In the following article, you’ll find an answer to all the questions you might have.

What Is Hill Running?

While the term is pretty self-explanatory, hill running isn’t only about running uphill. In fact, hill running means that you run either uphill or even downhill with an incline.

The main idea of hill running is to run uphill fast, maintain a jogging speed over the hill, and then start walking down. There’s also hill repeats, in which you simply repeat that step multiple times.

In other words, even if you’re not living in a region close to a mountain, you can easily do a hill running exercise.

While it won’t carry the full potential of mental advantages, doing hill running at home might still carry the same physical benefits.

The Benefits Of Hill Running

It goes without saying that hill running has a lot of physical benefits. However, it has a lot of mental benefits as well. Let’s have a quick look at some of these benefits.

Enhances the Body Endurance

Resistance training is designed to challenge your body limits to improve your overall strength and agility, such as running on sand.

When you run uphill, you’re going against gravity. This puts extra pressure on different muscle groups, such as the calves, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, helping them build more muscles.

Increase Your Speed

Since sprinting recruits more gluts and hamstrings, you’ll be increasing your overall speed by training these muscle groups by running uphill.

You’ll also improve your Achilles tendons and hip flexors, which are also essential for sprint running.

Burns More Calories than Flat Running

Your lower body isn’t the only thing that works hard during the intense hill running. In fact, your heart rate increases significantly while running uphill.

This makes it an excellent cardio exercise, as it burns more calories and improves your lung performance.

Adds a Variety to Your Workout Routine

If you’re bored with the gym’s monotony, running uphill is also super rewarding mentally.

In addition to the regular mental benefits of exercising, you’ll enjoy some fresh air as well as a perfect view.

Drawbacks Of Hill Running

One of the best things about uphill running is that it’s a generally safe exercise and a great way to work your body out.

Uphill running can put some strain on your knees, so you have to be careful, especially if you have a knee injury.

However, the problem with running downhill is that you might not be able to control your pace, so you have to be extra careful doing it.

The extra pace can raise the chances that you twist or sprain your ankle, especially that you would be running for quite some time by then.

Gear That You Need to Use While Hill Running

Now that you know the benefits that you’re going to enjoy while you run hills, it’s time to gear up for the challenge.

First things first, you need
good running shoes that are designed for offroading. I recommend ASICS Gel-Kahana 8 Trail Runner for males and females.

You’ll also need a good
hydration pack with a mouth large enough to slip some ice into the water to keep it cool.

Since you’re most likely going in the morning, you have to make sure that you
protect yourself from the sun. In my experience, a good running cap with some SPF 60 sunscreen will do.

You can also use some
photochromic running sunglasses if the sun rays obstruct your vision. After that, you only need your fitness tracker as well as earphones, and you’re ready to go!

Workouts To Improve Your Hill Running Performance

As you can see, running hills requires a lot of training, so you can keep up with its demands. To improve your overall performance and avoid injuries, you need to do at least 5 to 10 minutes of warm-up before going uphill.

Here are some other exercises that you can do to improve your general performance on hill running:


Squats are excellent for runners as they work your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, which are the main muscle groups needed for hill running.


Lunges enhance your posture and improve the performance of your quads, hamstrings, and glutes while hill running.

Knee Extensions

Knee extensions improve the quads and increase the overall power of your knees, which is essential for hill running.

How Can You Simulate Hill Running At Home?

You can easily simulate hill repeats by using your treadmill’s incline feature. While it might be a bit boring, it’s a perfect way to maintain your form on busy days.

First, you need to perform a 5 to 10-minute warm-up before the exercise to avoid injuries. After that, you can hop on the treadmill.

If you’re going to run, you should maintain an incline of 5 to 6%. However, if you’re going to walk, you should notch it up to 10%. A treadmill will give you the perk of creating patterns of inclination to suit your style perfectly.

To simulate going downhill, all you have to do is bring the treadmill back to 0% inclination. Many treadmills have built in programs that provide hill training workouts that simulate running up hills and downhills. 

How Often Should You Go Hill Running?

As you already know, running hills is a pretty intense and demanding exercise, that’s why you need to make sure that you do it with moderation.

The answer to this question depends mainly on your physical state and level of endurance. Ideally, a new hill runner should do it as much as once a week.

Once you build enough stamina and fitness level, you can go for 2 to 3 times a week.

However, you should always give yourself at least 2 days off between each hill run, so you can go higher than 3 times a week.

Wrap Up

With that said, you now have a better idea about hill running and everything you need to know before starting it.

Hill running is an excellent exercise that has a lot of benefits on your body and mind. Using this guide, you’ll be able to master it in no time!


Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Me.