Workout of the Week: Hills and Twos


This is a staple early season session for a number of top high school, collegiate, and professional programs that combines a set of short, hard hill repeats with a set of short, fast intervals. I’ve been doing some version of this workout since college, the Bowerman Track Club has their own take on it, and a couple of Georgetown runners even named their podcast after it. Here are the details: 

What: A set of 4-8 x 30-60 second hill repeats at 3K-1 mile EFFORT (walk/jog downhill for recovery between reps) followed by a set of 4-8 x 200m repeats on the track at 3K-1 mile EFFORT (walk/jog 200m between reps). Note: If you don’t have access to a track, you can run the 200s as 30-45-second repeats with 75-90” recovery between reps.

Why: This is a great workout for improving power, building leg strength, touching on speed, and working on mechanics in the early phases of a training block before the workouts get more race-specific. It’s all about running at a strong effort while maintaining good form and control throughout.

Warmup/Cooldown: Warm up before the workout with 15-30 minutes of easy running followed by a set of drills and 4-6 x 20-second strides (i.e., accelerate for 5 seconds, spend the next 10 seconds at near-top speed, and then gradually decelerate to a jog over the final 5 seconds. Catch your breath for 40-60 seconds and then repeat 3-5 more times). Cool down after the workout with 5-15 minutes of easy running.

Where: You’ll need a moderately steep hill (6-8% grade) that takes you 30 to 60 seconds to run up at a hard effort as well as a track or flat road/path for the 200s. A treadmill also works since you can program this workout into it and dial in the grade, duration, and effort rather precisely. 

When: This is a great early season workout that improves power and mechanics while also keeping a little turnover work in the mix. You can do it later in the same week that you do a Hills and Steady Chill session or use it as alternative for that workout every other week early in a training block. 

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