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 marathon. 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 versus 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.)