The long run - Should I avoid hills?

I have been treating every Sunday as my long run day however lately on my long runs I have come across several hills which really take it out of me.

The hills then make my run shorter then planned. I am trying to reach 10 miles with each long run.

Does anyone else include hills in their long run or just run a flat route?


  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    I often put hills in my long runs, it means I slow down overall and trains the legs. You could fast walk up the hills then over time introduce more and more running. I find that the  harder I train the easier it is to race. 
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    The group training I do for a long slow run on Sundays includes a mix of flat or hilly routes. We all appreciate that the hilly runs are just going to be a bit harder, but the pace is set so that it's still within the realms of an easy run.

    If the hills are taking it out of you then I found doing Kenyan hill training really helped in terms of how I approached running up them and, more importantly, how confident I was.
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    I used to avoid hills but now I love them! That is not to say that I don't enjoy a flat run.Depends what you want from your run. My long runs always have a purpose in addition to the run itself. e.g. Yesterday I went for a flat 12' and set myself the target of a 10 min/mile o'all pace, with easy breathing. Due to the incline in the final mile I need to bag about 30secs in the first 11'. It all helps to keep the mind in focus. I got back with 2secs. to spare. Job done!  With my running only three or four times per week I need to get the most out of every run, so yesterday included a focus on breathing, pace and form.
    Happy running. 
    Hills are great training, just slow down and keep your effort the same.  You will learn to enjoy them.   IMHO it's a big mistake to avoid hills in training.
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Totally agree with above.
    I should have gone on to say that I also choose to include hills in some of my long runs, even up to 20' in marathon prep.. Sometimes I will do what SHADES says; keep the effort the same. Then I might include a mile or two at Mar. pace, and even out the o'all pace. Other times I will increase the effort and exagerate the arm and leg action, and get up on my toes. Then try to run off the top of the hill. Basically, take what you can from every situation.
    Eventually, by not avoiding hills, you will be a stronger and more confident runner. All the best, Jack 1991, let us know how you get on.
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    It is interesting in the league races I do how many places you can make up on hills, both up and down. There is a decent proportion of club runners who as soon as they're faced with a hill will start to walk. A lot of times, due to the nature of the courses which tend to be cross country runs over the South Downs, you are stuck in a bit of a traffic jam having to go at the pace of the person in front. But if you have enough room it's an excellent opportunity to overtake. 

    I always tell my partner to "love the hill, be the hill". She rarely listens!!
  • Cal JonesCal Jones ✭✭✭
    I make a point of including hills in my long runs - aside from being beneficial, going up and down a bit also spreads the load between the different muscle groups.
  • Yep keep the hills in, make the training harder, make the races easier!  Plus you can't avoid races with hills...
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    Nice long hills on the 70 min training run yesterday. Perfect preparation for the Seaford half next Sunday, which as far as I can see, is all hills!! 

    Wonderful touch from the organisers to inform runners there are no cafés on the route. I have enough difficulty drinking water and running at the same time, trying to down an americano might cause third degree burns.
  • Thanks for your advice everyone. I have been using hills on my longs runs now and I just slow down with the hills. Suppose the main thing is getting used to the distance more then anything.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    One of our gym instructors says on the last hill climb you should fail trying! I have often tried this and it is amazing how fast you actually can run up a hill when you know you are not doing it again. Also sets some higher expectations for the next run. 
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    I do mine as a timed piece, 1 min up and 1 min down at the same pace. I try to pick a spot to reach for each climb so I can maintain the consistency, but on the last run up I'll really go for it. As you say it's amazing what you can do when you know it's the last one.
  • GradgeGradge ✭✭✭
    I generally have no choice but to include hills on any runs I do. In my opinion it is generally good training and if the races don't have any hills then they appear easier. The only time I would say hills didn't help me was at the end of long runs for marathon training(15-20) miles when I felt i was more likely to get injured. Even though I was running at a good pace at the time, 7 minute miles, I still walked up the steep hills at the end if I felt any niggles.
  • I think they are worthwhile putting in to your long runs and also doing short sprints up hills too. Depends on the run that you are training for though 
  • True - I tend to do more hills from August through to Feb - as that's when you need the training for cross country races. You can always tell the runners who don't do hills in certain races...
  • PaulMarshPaulMarsh ✭✭✭
    I live near the Peak District, so hills are part of the course. More you do the better you get, but sometimes I will run to the "Cloud" and Mow Cop in one go, both killer hills, makes your legs cry, but oh, what a workout.
    Today I did a long loop of the Cloud and round, all ups and downs, but felt better for it.
    The last few miles, I will do the flat bit to work on speed, where hills are ok,but running off road doesn't help the speed, pacing on the road, after a long hill runs really takes it out of me. - all good!
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