The word “puke” was painted at the top of the paved hill, a training ground all Brown Crew members knew too well. It was part of Scott Roop’s dry-land training protocol, a straight shot from the bottom of College Hill to the top, 10 times in a row. The goal was to run up at full tilt and then jog down, attempting to replenish lost air and alleviate the leg burn. The ultimate commitment to the team, however, was to fulfill the request spray painted on the pavement by past Brown oarsmen. It rarely happened; but shooting for that simple (and arguably gross) goal motivated us to perform our best. The harder we pushed ourselves on those hills, the more prepared we would be to do battle with the likes of Harvard, Princeton, Cal, and UW—their names were all written on the pavement too. Hill repeats are still part of my routine today to keep me fit or ready for my next race. Give them a shot yourself with the below hill routine. Not a runner? No worries. I got you covered.
This is geared toward running, but remember that impact can be minimized because you are running up and walking or jogging down. If you can’t run, find a steeper incline and “speed hike” at a fast clip. Find a hill in your area that would take you 70-90 seconds to jog up. For efficiency, use the time it takes you to travel to the hill from your house or gym as part of your warm-up and cool-down jog.
Warm up for 10 minutes, starting with a jog and then building to a run. If planning to speed-hike hills, build from steady walk to speed-hike pace.
Run or speed hike up the hill for 45 seconds at hard intensity. Mark your finishing point.
Walk or jog down, staying light on your feet and prevent hammering your heels into pavement.
Repeat four times. See if you can get to the same point or farther up the hill with each repeat.
Rest for three minutes, hydrate, and stretch.
Run or speed hike up the hill for 60 seconds. Mark your finish point.
Repeat four times, trying to match or beat your distance with each sprint.
Cool down by walking or jogging for five to 10 minutes.