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Time Trial Results

Saturday Hill Training in Greenwich

Midwinter session in Greenwich Park

"If you can push hard up the hills, pushing hard on the flat is easy" (Hannah Cockcroft's Dad).

Hill training isn't just for those intent on hill racing – it makes you stronger and faster on the flat too. Strengthen your legs and lungs – and even make new running friends – by joining in our tough but sociable coached hill session, held close to the start of the London Marathon on Saturday mornings, all year round. Greenwich Park is London's oldest enclosed Royal Park and includes 73 hectares of grassy hills both East and West of the Greenwich Meridian. And there are inspiring views across the Thames towards Canary Wharf, the Olympic Park, the Millennium Dome and the City of London. This well-maintained park provides an ideal off-road hill training environment. There are ample, clean public toilets, water fountains and a delightful (if a little expensive) café for post-training refreshments: what more does a runner need?

Where and when?

We gather near Karen's car parked on Blackheath Avenue inside the Park in time to start the warm-up at 09:30 on Saturdays. Our meeting point is near the Tea House at the top of the main hill near the Royal Observatory (see map below). You can store your gear in the boot at your own risk whilst training. Training is usually over by around 11.30 am. See the Greenwich Park page for full details. Pre-booking for each session by midnight on the Friday is essential. Please sign up using the link on the right. You will be turned away if you have not signed up. No entries on the day. If more than 20 people sign up, we will divide into two groups to reduce the risk of crowding other park-users. 


Hill running in Greenwich ParkWe try to provide a challenging and enjoyable session for all standards of runner. If you find yourself being overtaken on hills in road or cross-country races, then these sessions are for you. Even if you never plan to race on hilly courses, hill training makes you faster, stronger and more efficient on the flat. Sebastian Coe, Paula Radcliffe and the Kenyan national squad are all noted for doing lots of hill training!

This type of training builds leg-strength (especially the quadriceps and gluteal muscles – i.e. thighs and buttocks); develops good hill-running technique; strengthens your heart and lungs; increases lactic acid tolerance and – not least – increases your confidence on hills. And it can provide a refreshing change from pavement and track-pounding. You should begin to notice benefits after about 4 sessions.

The sessions are not recommended for new runners, people who don't want to make new friends, and/or those suffering from calf, achilles tendon or plantar fasciitis injuries. If in doubt, ask me for advice (details below).

See right for results of previous time trials.

What to bring

Bring water or other drinks, fell shoes (ideally), cross-country spikes or your muddiest trainers, and something warm to put on after training. Bring your Heart Rate Monitor too, if you have one.

What to expect

The precise content of the session varies from week to week but is broadly speaking as follows:

  1. Social warm-up of around 2 miles jogging, followed by dynamic mobility exercises and strides. Change footwear (although the session can be done in ordinary trainers if you don't mind them getting muddy) and take off warm-up gear.
  2. The session, as per the table below.
  3. On the last Saturday of every month we usually do a Kenyan hill session. This involves continuous tempo effort up-and-down hill running using 12 different hills in the park for about 40 minutes. It's the toughest of our sessions, so hill-novices would be advised to do only 6-8 hills the first time. 
  4. At roughly 6-weekly intervals, we hold a time trial (previous results here) up The Avenue (about 650m) to enable you to monitor your progress.
  5. Cool-down jog of up to a mile. Stretch.
  6. Total distance to write in your training log: about 5.0–6.5 miles. Count it as a speed/strength session.
  7. Adjourn to the Tea House for chat and refreshments (optional).

Session plans for the weeks ahead (note session start moved to 09:30 from May 2016)

Date Session
22 Oct 8, 12, 16 mins on 3 different hills at tempo effort
29 Oct Kenyan Hills: 40 mins at temp0 effort continuous up-and-down hill running on 12 different hills
5 Nov 2 x 12 mins followed by relays in teams of 3, picked by coach
12 Nov 3 x 12 mins at tempo effort on 3 different hills
19 Nov 8,12,16 mins on 3 different hills at tempo effort
26 Nov Kenyan Hills: 40 mins of tempo effort continuous up-and-down hill running on 12 different hills
3 Dec 3 x 12 mins at tempo effort on 3 different hills
10 Dec 5 x uphill spints, followed by 3 x 10 mins on 3 different hills

Contact details

Telephone: 07970 896440 out of office hours


Karen Hancock
UK Athletics Level 3 Coach ("Endurance" and "Children in Athletics")

Read Karen's training articles here.