Aerobic hill runs in plan

  • Creator
  • #50259
    Benjamin Jones

    I’ve been following the “Luke Nelson intro to Ultras” plan over the last 4 weeks or so and I had a question about clarifying the “Aerobic hill run” workout plans.

    The workout description says:

    Do this run on hilly terrain with avg elevation change of at least 300-500ft/mile

    If I take this literally (which I tend to do and sometimes gets me in trouble), I’m looking at 7 miles with 300-500 ft / mile. If I interpret “elevation change” as total elevation *gain* over the course, that’s 2100′ – 3500′ vertical, which would be a big day for me 🙂 On the other hand, one could interpret this as 300-500 ft. adding up both elevation gain and loss (say, over all the peak-to-valley segments on the elevation profile) and that’s quite a bit less total elevation for the run. On the other, other hand it might be a typo and what was intended was 300-500 ft. total elevation gain for over the whole 7 miles. That would be very mildly hilly in my part of the world.

    How have others interpreted this workout? What’s the intention? I know what I’d consider “hilly terrain”, but just wanted to check my expectations.


Posted In: Mountain Running

  • Participant
    hikerobby on #50264

    1000 feet in a mile is 19% and quite steep for repeats and sprints. I would think that for a “hill run” 300 feet per mile would be the minimum to consider it a hill run. Less than that would be a flat run. 300′ over 7 miles is not a hill run that’s only 40 feet per mile.

    Just FYI… my first “steep uphill hike” was 2500 feet in 8 miles (Mountaineering program after my 8-week Transition period) and it left me sore for three days. But all hill workouts after that have been fine. So I would expect it to be a big day for you. Maybe aim for 2000′ for your first one!

    hikerobby on #50265

    FYI usually we’re talking elevation gain and then assume you are not taking a ski lift back down and have to go down the same amount to get to your car. You don’t count it twice.

    Rachel on #50286

    I’ve interpreted it to be gain and loss needs to add up to 300-500 feet per mile. So for a 7 mile run you want in between 2100 and 3500 gain plus loss. So on a loop you’d have equal amounts of gain and loss. I make sure to have a screen on my watch that shows both numbers so I can check that I’m hitting the targets.

    Anonymous on #50425

    Correct: “/mile” = per mile

    Benjamin Jones on #50470

    Thanks all for the responses, I feel like I understand the intent of the workout better now.

    Here’s a route I came up with that I think is close to the right level of hilly based on what y’all have said.

    That’s about 340′ per mile, adding ups and downs. So about 4 laps of that gets me to 7 miles. And –bonus– I get to run on my local volcano 🙂

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