The long run is the backbone of base training. It develops everything from oxygen uptake and muscular endurance to energy efficiency. Trouble is, long runs need to be 90 minutes or more, which isn’t good news if you’ve got only an hour. Don’t despair. You can get similar benefits in one hour with some long hills.
If you don’t have a suitably hilly route, do reps on a single hill, running uphill for the appropriate time, then running downhill easily before doing another repeat. As you get fitter, you’ll gradually turn the hill reps into a nonstop hill run.
Adding long hills develops a combination of strength, endurance, and oxygen uptake at the same time. But remember, this is a base session, so keep your heart rate well within 85 percent of max heart rate. This type of workout is harder than normal runs, so never do it more than once per week.
Faking the Long Run
15 min.: Easy, finishing with 3-4 short hills RPE 1-2
30 min.: Hill work, stay below 85% max heart rate RPE 3
5 min.: Easy running RPE 2
Weeks 1-3: 4.6 x 5-min. hill repeats
Weeks 4-5: 2-3 x 10-min. hill repeats
Weeks 6: 20-30 min. of nonstop uphill
This workout is from One-Hour Workouts, a collection of 50 swim, bike, and run workouts from top triathlon coaches that anyone can fit into a lunch hour–including warm-up and cool-down.