Now that we are entering the holiday season, some of us will be looking forward to some well deserved respite. For others, you will be looking for something different, maybe some cross training or different workouts to get you through the season. One favorite workout to keep you in running shape and shake things up a bit are: Hills!

I know what you’re thinking, unlike the lush green lands of Munnar in South India, there isn’t much hill action in Chicago but there are some locations around the city (see below) that will get you the elevation that you need! But if all else fails, we’ve included a remixed version of our workout that can be easily completed on a treadmill. Sorry, not sorry – no excuses. Hill workouts are beneficial to runners as an opportunity to strengthen and flex your muscles as well as building endurance and practicing your form. Other benefits to hill workouts include:

  • Increasing Speed
  • Improving Cadence
  • Activating Lower Body Muscles
  • Decreasing Risk of Injury
  • Building Power & Strength in Legs
  • Improving Stamina

Let’s get to it! Below you will find a good intermediate level hill work out with its treadmill alternative as well. You can also check out this video for basic form tips for both uphill and downhill running!



  • 1 mile warm up
  • 4 hill repeats (up and down the hill with a 80-90% effort)
  • 1/4  mile easy jog/recovery
  • 4 backwards up hill (run down as usual)
  • 1/4 mile easy jog/recovery
  • 4 hill repeats
  • 1/4 mile easy jog/recovery
  • 2 walking lunges up hill (run down as usual)
  • 1/2 mile cool down



The treadmill should be set at a 1.0 incline to simulate flat running.

  • 10 min warm up (1.0 incline)
  • 2 min  small incline (3.0)
  • 2 min easy recovery (1.0 incline)
  • 1 min incline 5.0
  • 2 min easy jog (1.0 incline)
  • 1 min incline 6.0
  • 2 min easy jog (1.0 incline)
  • 1 min incline 7.0
  • 3 min recovery (1 min at 0.5 incline, 2 min at 1.0 incline)
  • Repeat x1
  • 5-10 minute cool down

Tip: Too easy? Use the first minute of the “easy recovery” to add 0.5 mph to your speed.



Want to find some hills to use on your own during the week? In the Minneapolis area, we can vouch for a few locations:

  • Stone Arch Bridge Hill
  • W River Pkwy 94 Hill
  • Witch’s Hat Hill (Start on east side of Franklin Ave bridge, run east of Franklin, left on Seymour Ave, finish at Witch’s Hat)
  • Pelham Hill
  • Kreston Street Hill (at intersection of Valentine/Keston)
  • Hendon Ave Hill
  • Deming Heights Hill
  • Williston Road in Minnetonka
  • Sparrow Road in Minnetonka
  • Ramsey Street Hill (Pleasant Ave/Grand Ave to Summit Ave)
  • Hyland Park Ski Jump Hill in Bloomington
  • Longer Climbs (keep steady pace up these ones, don’t sprint this whole time!)
    • Start at Robert Avenue Bridge in downtown St. Paul, cross bridge to Water Street, to Plato Blvd, jogging over to Ohio Street, then to George Street and take a left to Stryker, continuing up Stryker to Imperial Dr W, and ending at Imperial Ridge (the highest point in the immediate Twin Cities area). 2.3% grade over 3.8 miles with a total climb of 460 feet.
    • Start at Kaposia Landing and run up through Kaposia Park and then turn right on the trail before Sperl St. and run up to the east shore of Thompson Lake. 2.8% grade over 1.75 miles with a total climb of 262 feet.

As always, these hill work outs should be a part of general training program; even if it is in-between regular weekly runs. Optimum performance will come from these as opposed to one offs!


Photo from Local hill finds sourced from: