Running hill reps is a great way to improve your stride length and therefore speed, without quite the same risk as running track intervals.
Speed work for running will always carry some level of injury risk, but this seems magnified when running repeats on a flat, hard surface like a running track.
Of course, you could run them on grass, but many places with grass surfaces can have uneven surfaces, hidden beneath the grass - my local playing field is a good example; looks like a bowling green until you try to run fast on the surface!
Also, running intervals on the flat magnifies the impact forces you experience.
Running hill reps, on the other hand, increases the resistance you experience, but doesn't magnify those impact forces as much. They're a great introduction to speed work, providing the necessary level of conditioning for muscles and connective tissue that will allow you to progress to fast work on the flat.
How to do it...
Warm up by running at an easy pace for at least 10 minutes (longer is better because you want to be properly warm before running hard). Add any dynamic mobility exercises that you need.
Find a fairly steep hill and select two markers, approximately 60m apart.
Run 6 -10 repeats up the hill.
Walk back down to recover.
Cool down by running 5-10 minutes at an easy pace and performing mobility exercises as needed.
On the repeats, focus on...
- Hip position - up and forward, maintain neutral hip girdle position
- Drive the foot backwards and down on every foot-strike
- Strong knee drive
- Strong arm drive
- Relaxed upper body
IMPORTANT: These are not hill sprints. Instead, the focus is on relaxed, efficient and fast running uphill.
For more about running and how to do it well: Running (A Guide for Non-Runners)