'No Hill' Outdoor Workouts for Flat Areas

Training on hills has lots of benefits for runners, such as strength, speed, and confidence building. But some runners who live in very flat areas get concerned about their lack of hill training, especially if they're running a race with lots of elevation changes. Running hills in the winter can also be a challenge when the conditions are snowy and icy, or in the summer when the extremely hot and humid prevents you from running outdoors.

Here are some alternatives to outdoor hill running that give you almost the same bang for your buck.


woman on treadmill

While some runners despise the treadmill, you can get a decent hill workout on a treadmill. You can also customize it for your needs by creating a hill workout with the exact distances and inclines you want to practice. The biggest disadvantage of course is that you can't simulate downhill running.

Stair workouts

Whether you run stairs at a local stadium or in your office or apartment building, they can be a good substitute for hills. The idea with running stairs is to do it the same way you would hill repeats. Push yourself going up the stairs and then recover at an easy pace on the way down. Beginners will want to start with one step at a time but, as your fitness and agility improves, you can go for two at a time. 


Two friends jogging across urban street bridge
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You may not have hills in your area, but do you have any bridges?  Most bridges have a bit of an incline, so they're good practice for hills. Running bridges can fun and a nice change of pace from your usual running routes. Just make sure that the bridge is pedestrian-friendly before you try to run over it!

Parking garages

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Some runners run the ramps in parking garage towers during times when they're mostly empty. This may be a good workout to do with your running club or running buddies, since some runners may not want to run by themselves in a parking garage.