Dec 04

Running Video – Hill Repeats!

Who’s afraid of the big bad hills?  Not me and I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to be either.  Where I live, I have no choice but to run hills…lots of them.  My house is literally on a mountain.  I’m not exaggerating as you will see in the video below.  Since I moved to my house on the mountain five years ago, I can honestly say that my racing times have improved and my legs and lungs have gotten stronger.  Every time I go for a run I either have to go directly down hill or up hill and, to get back home, I have to run straight up the sucker.  The only saving grace is that our house in mid-hill so the only time I truly have the run the length of the mountain is when I do hill repeats.

A view from the top!  I stood in my driveway to take this shot. It's a long way up from the bottom of that road!

A view from the top! I stood in my driveway to take this shot. It’s a long way up from the bottom of that road!

Why the hell would I do that to myself?  Because it’s great training and if you don’t fear the hills but instead, power up them, you will have a huge advantage on your competition.  I know this because I love to pass people on the hills during races.  I also have special hill mantras like “the hills make you stronger” or “this hill is not as steep as my hill.”  Of course, that last one won’t work for you unless you also happen to live on a mountain…or you’re one of my neighbors.



A few tips for running hill repeats:

1.  Start easy.  Find a hill that is run-able in about 2-3 minutes from top to bottom and start by doing 2-3 repeats.  You can do them as part of your workout or for the entire workout.

2.  Focus on the top of the hill.  I know you probably don’t want to see how far you have to go but if your gaze is at the top, it puts your body in better alignment and you’ve got your eyes on the prize!

3.  Just do it.  Unless you live in the desert plains, most likely you will encounter a hill or two (or seven) when racing.  If you have the advantage of conquering hills on a regular basis you will power through them come race time.

4.  You only need to do this type of workout every two weeks, unless you have a particularly hilly race coming up in which case, I would recommend it weekly.

5.  It’s a different workout and it’s always a plus to train those muscles in a different way.  Hello soreness!  Hello foam roller!  Good-bye fat!  See ya monotony!

It's a beautiful view when you're NOT running up it!

It’s a beautiful view when you’re NOT running up it!

I shamelessly plugged two of my favorite running necessities in the video – my gloves and sunglasses.  I’ll be talking more about my TrailHeads gear in another post but you can check them out here or by clicking on the affiliate link on my sidebar.  The Optic Nerve sunglasses I won in a raffle from Nicole at Work In Sweats Mama and they have become my go-to faves!  You can check those out here.  I almost passed out when I saw how inexpensive they are so if you’ve forgotten to get yourself a little holiday gift then problem solved!  Oh yes and Vaughn’s plastic Wizard of Oz scarecrow is from a happy meal at McDonald’s (his father took him!) but I would not recommend getting that and then running…or doing anything else.

Now get out there and RUN for the those HILLS!

Do you do hill repeats as part of your running workout?  What’s one workout you really loathe but do it anyway because you feel great afterward?  All of them?













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  1. Emma @ a mom runs this town

    Couldn’t get the video to work on my phone but it’s 100% my phone’s fault! I will try when you go to my computer. I don’t love hills but I do love to hate him and I do realize they make you stronger!

    1. vita88

      If you’ve run one hill…well, you obviously know what you’re doing so no need to really watch the video! I’ve learned to hate the hills less over the years and living on one has certainly helped. Thanks Emma 🙂

  2. The Dose of Reality

    OMGeeeeeeeee!! Look at you booking it up that hill!! WOOT!! You look like you are on flat ground! You’re just flying up that thing!
    Seriously, I can think of nothing that would mess with a competitor’s mind like seeing someone fly past them on a hill like that!!! And if you are able to think “that’s not as big as my hill” while you are doing it—that is AWESOME. I love it.
    I think it takes great effort to DRIVE up a hill, so I’m doubly impressed. I will say, now that I’ve seen this, I will TRY not to bipass the hills in my neighborhood on my walks. I’ll think, “What would Allie do” and give it a go. 😀 –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted…Walking The WalkMy Profile

    1. vita88

      YES!!! You can do it! This hill saved me during my twin pregnancy when I would walk up it multiple times a day. I would be completely winded but it was a great (and safe) workout. You GO Lisa!! Get up that hill!!

  3. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    Girl you are doing some WORK in that video!! Wow! I love that you train on hills every single day!! That is amazing! I don’t run very often but I will admit that I am fully afraid of hills when I encounter them on my 5ks. I mean it’s hard enough to run the straight and narrow! Goodness. You gave some awesome tips here though so I will follow your advice!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Side Lying Leg DriversMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It is definitely work and it never gets easier!! If you start with some small ones (not sure where to find them in the city other then on a treadmill?) you can conquer them better in a race. Thanks Nellie!

  4. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama

    To do a hilly run where I live, I just have to walk out the door, turn any direction, and BAM, there’s a giant hill. The best part of hill training? The sweet descent down the other side! I absolutely love downhill running, especially on the trails. Not only can you gain advantages on the uphills, but there’s a ton to be gained on the descents. A lot of people don’t know how to let go on the downhill and end up holding back too much.

    I’m so glad you LOVE your Optic Nerve sunglasses! Aren’t they the best?! I’m giving them as Christmas gifts to TONS of people on my holiday list. Optic Nerve has some sweet holiday deals going on too! And you know I’m a HUGE fan of my TrailHeads gear too!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted…O (Fake) TannenbaumMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I have to say that I’m not a huge fan of the downhills on pavement. On a trail? OH hell yes!! Maybe I have an easier time letting go on the dirt trail?
      I seriously love those sunglasses and wear them on almost every run. I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to them. You’re going to make a lot of people on your list very happy!!

  5. Marisa

    Your mountain is the reason I no longer fear the hill and just ‘get over it’!!

    1. vita88

      That’s right!! I remember the day we did repeats – you were awesome. Once you’ve conquered my hill, there’s no fear left. Keep up the climb my friend!

  6. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

    I definitely have a love hate relationship with hills. I agree that they are an awesome addition to your training. I noticed my endurance increase even after the first week.,
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…California Dreamin’…My SpinMy Profile

    1. vita88

      SO true!! I also love that I can cram in a really great workout in just 30 minutes. The hill repeats have come in very handy over the years.
      Thanks Kris!

  7. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    Love these tips! And I really feel like moving to this hilly area was making me a stronger runner, too. Of course, I never got a chance to test it out in the marathon, but my training was stronger than it had ever been!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Two words for a healthier holiday seasonMy Profile

    1. vita88

      The hills, as they say, make you stronger. Such a true statement!! Hopefully you’ll be testing those legs soon 🙂
      Thanks Laura.

  8. Kim

    We have lots of hills here, too – not quite like your mountain though. My sis-in-law was over the hills by the time she went back home to flat west TX!!!
    Kim recently posted…Names – How do you Choose Them?My Profile

    1. vita88

      I just love the hills! At least they mix it up on a run and it’s good for your legs too. Your poor SIL must have been in shock 🙂

  9. Denise Pantason

    I can attest that Allie’s hill is the steepest ,most challenging hill I’ve ever run up…I felt like I was going in slow motion. I made need to come by when I start my training in January for Boston to get ready for those hills!!!

    1. vita88

      Slow motion for sure!! I never even bother to look at my Garmin when I’m running up that beast.

      I think it’s a great idea to do some Boston training on my hill. Anytime my friend!!

  10. Alison

    I just want your legs.
    Hell, I want your arms too.
    And your abs.
    I don’t want the hill though. 😉
    (your boys are so cute!)
    Alison recently posted…Do More Of What Makes You HappyMy Profile

    1. vita88

      The hill is part of what makes all of those things!! Ha ha! You’re so awesome Alison 🙂

  11. Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady

    Cool that you have mantras! I don’t run, all I can imagine is my legs hurting going up and down hills. Super cool that you live on a mountain though. I don’t think I knew that. I am loving the variety of videos. Keep up the good work!
    Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady recently posted…Contracting Clients with Robinson and Associates, LLCMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Gotta keep my mental game in check! Thanks for the support Joi!!

  12. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    You should come visit me in New Mexico! We live on a MOUNTAIN and my mom powers up and down it every day like a crazy trooper – I am … TOO SCARED lol… And I work out, INSIDE on my sexy elliptical, and look out the window! I FEEL LIKE I AM OUTSIDE! LOL!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…Evil Weight Gain Doesn’t Stand a Chance!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Love your mom already!!! I will come there just to run up that mountain with YOU. Come on GiGi – get out there and work it woman 🙂

  13. Melissa Burton

    I hate hills. Just thinking about the rolling hills in Prospect Park, Brooklyn used to make me nauseated. I know doing more hills makes you stronger and since 2014 is going to be a year of change for me I may need to refer to your advice very, very soon.
    Melissa Burton recently posted…Tunes For Tuesday – Colin HayMy Profile

    1. vita88

      They really do make you stronger – mentally and physically! I had no clue there were hills in Brooklyn. I’d love to run them with you sometime 🙂

  14. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance

    I love this video! Your boys are so cute and funny! Also, I like your top! I don’t run hills but I do bike hills. There is a massive one in NJ in the Palisades Park. It is hardcore and it goes on for like 10 to 15 minutes. I love it when I pass a guy all decked out in cycling gear on that hill. Girls kicking butt!
    FitBritt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…What is Bokwa?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Britt! That is the BEST when you can do that to another decked out cyclist. I bike up my hill too and I’d rather run! I always feel like I have just enough momentum to not tip over. Ugh!!
      My top is from Athleta, of course!! Thanks 🙂

  15. Holly

    I LOVE this VIDEO of you running and your son trying to run with you! awww! MY gosh you do live on a huge hill that is awesome for running though and I’m glad you have seen the improvements. Hills suck at first but like anything they get a little bit easier with the more you do and the benefit is AMAZING. Great pointers for hill running too…I’ll be sure to bookmark this for the future when people ask me “why hills?”!
    Holly recently posted…Turkey Barley Soup and Turkey TrotsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Holly! The boys had fun and wanted to keep running it, except they don’t want me to “beat” them. Too cute.
      Yes – the answer to “why hills?” for sure!!

  16. Tamara

    Ack, your kids are so cute! I love how it looks like you’re on level ground and just with a tilted camera – that’s how easy you make it look! Sign me up.
    I used to live on top of a pretty significant hill and I wouldn’t run up it, but I would push the stroller up to the top and I would be winded from it.
    Baby weight gone.
    Tamara recently posted…Honey, I Broke The Baby & My Mind.My Profile

    1. vita88

      OMG I would totally push the boys in the double B.O.B up that thing and I would be almost dead by the time I reached the top!! But, yep – baby weight slid right down the hill with my sweat!! Love it 🙂

  17. Chris G

    If I remember correctly, you used to do that hill pushing a stroller with two babies in it! Right? I look at your hill as I drive by on my way home from work, does that count?? Seriously, I also live on a hill (which we lovingly call Killer Hill) but I do not run up it. My husband and I do walk up it though and we are literally just putting one foot in front of the other to get up it.

    1. vita88

      You are correct Chris! Those stroller workouts were the toughest I have ever done. Somedays I would grip that stroller so tightly I thought I would snap the handle bar.
      As for walking up “Killer Hill?” You’re doing the best thing you can be AND creating the perfect mantra – just put one foot in front of the other 🙂

  18. Hope

    I’ve been seriously avoiding hills. I recently decided to start embracing and conquering hills after some people in my running group “reprimanded” me for avoiding hills is training, the complaining about them in races. Thank you so much for this video. It’s a confirmation that I need to strengthen that area to improve my stamina and time.
    Hope recently posted…Christmas year roundMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It’s a big part of running and, like everything else, if you train for it they become just another part of your run or race. You’re a strong woman Hope and you can so conquer those hills! I’m happy you have a good group of running women surrounding you and calling you out 🙂

  19. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    I fell in love with hill repeats in the early fall. I make it into a little game which makes it fun. Although I think the people that live on the hill think I’m the crazy lady who always is searching for something. “There she goes again! Up and down. Up and down. What’s she looking for?” 🙂
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…5 Tips to Stay Fit During The HolidaysMy Profile

    1. vita88

      That is awesome! I also know exactly how you feel about the neighbors. Just recently I was doing repeats with a friend and one of my neighbors was out doing yard work and clearly confused by what we were doing. During one pass I shouted “Don’t worry, it’s just me again,” and he was like “I feel like I should have water or something for you guys!” Now that would be awesome.
      Keep it up girl! Most of them are watching you in awe, I’m sure.

  20. Dana

    My neighborhood has lots of hills. Which would be great if I ran, but I don’t. But I do walk on the treadmill sometimes, with the incline cranked all the way up to ten. I can feel the glutes workout – woot!
    Dana recently posted…I never imaginedMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Get those flutes fired up Dana! Ha ha – that is great. Artificial hills count too. Good for you!!

  21. Cori @ olivetorun

    This is great! I love to hate, hate to love hills!
    Cori @ olivetorun recently posted…Lessons from A Running InjuryMy Profile

    1. vita88

      So true!! I hate the thought of them but I love the workout…when it’s over.

  22. Ilene

    Where I live now? It’s absolutely flat. I miss the hills – well – yes and no. They’re hard! But they do make your legs and lungs stronger! And that video in the beginning when you are running? You glide, lady! You make it look so easy!
    Ilene recently posted…The BridgeMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Ah yes, you have moved to the flatlands. I’m glad it makes you appreciate the hills of the Northeast! I may appear as though I’m gliding because I didn’t run very far. Poor Vaughn was screaming behind me which, of course, he had not done the previous three times!
      Whenever you come to visit, we can run some hills with Michelle from Dish 🙂

  23. Crystal

    Great tips! I am planning on running again this spring. Need to work off this baby weight. I’m going to remember focusing on the top of the hill. It’s the not there yet that usually does me in. 🙂
    Crystal recently posted…Ladies Only Blog Share Link Party: These Crazy, Stressful HolidaysMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I know!! It’s the “I think I can” but you really can! Keep me posted when you start back. I love a good success story 🙂

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