Chairman Tuesday – Hill Sprints

Hey all

With everyone only being allowed 1 piece of outside activity now I thought this would make a nice change and it's something you can use twice a week for the next few weeks. I've done this with the guys at work and they all found it beneficial and a nice change to just running around, hopefully you will all feel the benefit too. Ideally you'll use this set to build over the first three weeks then keep some maintenance in after that.


Go for a gentle run of 1 km or so, to the bottom of a hill (flat will do but hill is better), ideally 5 to 10%...
You'll then be doing hill sprints, so sprinting for somewhere between 6 and 12 seconds, at a hill between 5 and 10% gradient. The sprints will be max effort, with a slow walk back to the start and decent recovery so you can cover the same distance on each sprint. You'll need a stopwatch or countdown timer to time your efforts, ideally a HR monitor to know when to go again (basically once fully recovered). You'll do the same number of reps as you are doing seconds i.e. if running for 6s then there will be 6 reps. Each set you must go the same distance in the same time, if you're going further the recovery is too long, not going as far then the recovery is too short. Remember to force a truly maximum power effort, that’s why they’re so short. If your not sure what you can manage, stay low, can always up it next time.
After that have a very gentle run back, do some strides and finish with a good stretch of legs and arms.

Remember, running uphill you should try to

  • Stand tall with only a slight lean forward that comes from the ankles not the hips, crunch over will have a negative effect.
  • Avoid long bounds, keep steps short and the cadence high with light foot contact.
  • Drive you arms forward and backwards, arms at 90-degree bend, swinging forward not across the body.
  • Forget pace, concentrate on effort and not burning out – each effort should be just a bit harder.
  • Remember the inevitable downhill after.

See below for full session details...

Session Pathway

  1. 6-8 sec sprints up a 5% hill, 6-8 repetitions (Wk 1 Day 1)
  2. 8-10 5% hill, 8-10 reps (Wk 1 Day 4)
  3. 8-10 8% hill, 8-10 reps (Wk 2 Day 1)
  4. 8-10 10% hill, 8-10 reps (Wk 2 Day 4)
  5. 8-10 10% hill, 8-10 reps (Wk 3 Day 1)
  6. 10-12sec 10% hill, 10-12 reps (Wk 3 Day 4)
  7. As above once or twice a week, dropping to one set of 6-10 reps per week.

Warm up

  • Gentle jog around to hill, 1km ish
  • Establish starting point
  • Establish feeling after 6 second max effort
    • Monitor distance
    • Monitor feeling/hr before and after
    • How long until hr recover

Main set

  • Hill sprints in sets detailed in session path way based on the feeling from the 6s effort.
  • Ensure enough recovery between sets so.
  • Each set covers the same distance.
  • HR is similar at the end of each set / perceived effort is the same.
  • Slowly back to start and monitor feeling.
  • Once back and HR/feeling is back to beginning repeat
    • If distance decreased in time, extra recovery is needed.
    • If feeling is of harder, extra recovery is needed.
  • Once allotted reps have been completed, or time reached finish - on first go listen to your body!

Warm down

  • Gently jog back to the level
  • Striders (Strides) Focus on form to develop stride length, do these for about 100m a few times on the way back.
    • Easy – simple light jog, no race pace!
    • Fresh – above light jog but not run.
      • Each foot above ankle height (imagine a bar coming out of your ankle ie "over the bar")
      • Belly button in
      • Chin neutral, shoulders and arms relaxed
  • Stretch

Keep hydrated, keep stretching!

What was the point in all that?

The aim of this is to improve muscle strength by using short, steep, swift reps.


  • The overall path should make you more efficient with a longer stronger stride.
  • Running muscles will be strengthened and so risk of injury should be reduced.
  • Brain-muscle communication should be improved.
  • Power and stride efficiency will be increased.
  • More ground will be covered with the same stride using less energy:
    Speed = stride length x cadence 😊


“Muscular Training” stimulate neuromuscular adaptations that enhance running performance. The body is working at max or near max forcing the nervous system to activate large numbers of motor units within the body. These units are fired with great force to move the runner whilst resisting fatigue. Regular training of this type improves brain-muscle communication thus increasing power, efficiency, running economy and fatigue resistance.

Stay safe