Flat Surface vs Hills for Running

So what’s better? Running on a flat surface or running on hills? First…toss out the ‘better’ from your question and vocabulary. ‘Better’ is always subjective.

Here are three quick tips to evaluate what might work for you and your goals when it comes to running surface types.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? – Knowing your goals are key to any training plan. If you’re going after a big ultra marathon that’s got 12,000 feet of elevation gain in the Rocky Mountains…by all means make sure you’re training on the hills! It doesn’t have to be all the time though. Find what works for you and what level of hill work your body is most comfortable with.

WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED? – If you live on the flattest of flat plains in the middle of the country, hills might be tough to come by. That’s okay! Focus on speedwork on the flats and occasionally look for an overpass in your town or city. The ground can be ramped up to allow for proper vehicle roadway design thus giving you a short but steep hill include to do repeats on.

WHAT FEELS RIGHT? – WAY too often we push past our bodies internal mechanisms in the pursuit of getting a set number of hours in or mileage in or whatever in. STOP IT! While challenging yourself can be a good thing, moderation and respect for yourself is key! Get off social media and keep your phone in a backpack or back pocket when training. Do what feels right pacing, distance and ability wise. Having a rough week? Drop some volume from your training plan…recover, recharge and reboot the following week vs risking burnout!

Ready to run on a super flat course for your next 10K or Half Marathon?? Join us at the Noco Half Marathon & 10K on April 18th!


The above is not intended as medical advice. It is for training entertainment and athletic entertainment purposes only. Always seek professional advice.