Couch to 5K

How to deal with hills?

I live in a hilly area. To avoid them, I would need to drive somewhere else, or run laps around a small parking lot over and over and over (which would drive me batty). I happen to live at the low point in the hills, so pretty much every direction is up first, and down heading back. So here's the problem: I am having a hard time running up the hills in the first part of the run. Is it "cheating" to walk up them first and start running from the top, heading back down? Should I trudge up the hill at a job even if I can't continue, so I am not only able to run downhill? Or is there a better way?

6 Replies

I'm glad I have the choice of a hilly or flat run, actually if I was looking a proper hilly run it's 20mins running to get there...unless I did laps of one hill in particular!

Something to consider is to be careful that the hills aren't too steep to cause you an injury when running down them.

I don't think it would be cheating to start at the top of the hill, would it be cheating if that happened to be where your house was? There's no point making it too hard for yourself! Come back to that hill at the end of the week 9 and see how you feel running up it then and you might be pleasantly surprised :)


I know this dilemma well! I like to use walking up the hill as my warm-up, I walk up as fast as I can, get my heart pumping and then when I get to the top I feel revved up and ready for a run. I am not very kind to myself though, I walk up the steepest route and run down the gentle descent because I'm not keen on going over the same ground twice!

Gradually as your time improves walking up the hill, you might find yourself wanting to run a little bit of it. Just start walking and see how you feel. It's surprising how many different muscles you use running and walking uphill than on the flat or downhill so introducing a bit of a hill will give you even more of a work out! As you live in a hilly area you might be surprised how quickly you can walk up a hill. I know I was when I started timing myself.


I too can't avoid hills and have gradually just built up through walking up them then into gradual jog for part... Once your stamina increases over time you will find them easier ....depending on how steep they are I also find running more on your toes helps but I could be so wrong in doing that!!!! Also breathing lots helps too ... As in increasing your pace of breathing...


I always wondered about running on my toes up hills (I thought it used up too much energy) but my seasoned fell-running friends assure me it is the best/safest way to run up hill (and it gets easier apparently).


I would suggest that once warmed up, you run uphill for - say - a minute, then down for 30 secs, then up for a minute and down for 30 secs, till you have done the required time. Once you graduate you could start to increase the time you spend going up hill to 1 min 30 secs each time? I know you might feel you look a bit daft but it is a compromise and still a good work out!


Thank you for the great suggestions. I just tried my run by including the first steep uphill bit in my walking warm-up, and the run was great! Soooo much easier! I will save that big ugly hill for later in my training, and by then I will be so much stronger. :)


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