Hills are the burpees of running: you hate them until you love them. Or maybe: you hate them while you're doing them, but you love them once you're done. Or maybe: you just always hate them. We're still trying to figure it out. At any rate, running and walking hills is guaranteed to leave you red-faced and sweaty, your legs on the verge of giving out, and those two extra miles you have left looking like a freaking marathon. All that being said — you can also use hills to turn a run-of-the-mill jog into a fat-torching HIIT workout, pumping up your heart rate and your calorie burn.
Tom Holland, MS, NSCA-CSCS, an exercise physiologist and author of The Marathon Method with over 60 marathons under his belt, recommended starting with a simple, 30-minute hill interval workout that can be done with running or walking. Choose walking if you're newer to cardio training, then work your way up to a full run; you can read more about the weight loss benefits of running vs. walking here. Warm up with some dynamic stretching (here's a sequence that's perfect for runners) then head out the door. Don't forget water — you're gonna need it.
30-Minute Hill Interval Workout For Running or Walking
- Warm up by walking or jogging at a slow, easy pace on flat ground for 10 minutes.
- Power walk or run hard up a hill for 30-60 seconds.
- Walk or jog back down the hill at a slow pace back to recover.
- Repeat for a total of 10 minutes.
- Slow down to a slow walk or jog for 10 minutes on flat ground to cool down.
Hills can leave you super sore, so finish up your workout by doing some full-body stretches after the cooldown. (We recommend this stretching sequence.)