The Perfect Hill Workout

triathletes running a hill
January 30, 2017

Mike Ricci


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As you approach race season, incorporating hill repeats into your training regimen before diving into serious interval training can be highly beneficial. The following workout outlines what I consider the 'Perfect Hill Repeat' session:

1. Warm up for 10-12 minutes at an easy pace.
2. Perform standing activations.
3. Hill Bounds – Complete 2 sets of 20 steps each (10 per leg). Jog or walk back to the starting point. Hill Bounds involve forceful skipping up the hill.
4. Begin with 6 sets of 2-minute hill repeats at a 5k-10k effort level. Focus on exerting a fairly intense effort, rating perceived exertion (RPE) between 7-9. Don't fixate on speed or heart rate (HR) during these repeats. Your HR may take time to catch up but will likely reach zones 4/5 after about 90 seconds.
5. Take an easy 2-minute recovery period after each hill repetition. Walk or jog slowly back to the starting point.
6. As you progress through the repetitions, aim to surpass the furthest point reached with each subsequent repetition.
7. Upon completing the last repetition, perform 3 sets of 30 Hill Bounds (15 forceful skips for each leg). Mark the furthest point reached during your best Hill Bound (you can use a rock or stick as a marker).
8. Execute 3 sprints up to the furthest point reached during your best Hill Bound. For instance, if the Hill Bounds took you 20 seconds, strive to cover the same distance in 10 seconds. Push yourself to go all out!
9. Cool down with an easy 10-minute jog.
10. Incorporate a brief core workout and aid your recovery with a drink containing 20-30g of protein.

You can gradually increase the number of repetitions by 1-2 each week, aiming to reach 12-15 repetitions by weeks 4-6. After completing this workout block, you'll be well-prepared to transition to track workouts.

If you have any inquiries, feel free to email me at:

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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