Running Time: Hills Vs. Flat

Running on flat terrain results in fast times, but it may not be the most realistic environment for road and trail runners. Most non-track running courses include some hills, which can cause your running times to vary. Knowing the impact of hills on your training will help you become a better runner and ensure that you are able to train for upcoming races appropriately.

Man running up a hill (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)


Jack Daniels, author of "Daniels' Running Formula," estimates that for every percent of incline you experience in an uphill, your running time will slow by 12 to 15 seconds per mile. Building hill running into your training will help to reduce this and make it easier for you to tackle any incline.


Daniels estimates that downhills will help you improve your time by approximately eight seconds per mile for every percent gradient of decline. Even so, it's important to acclimate your muscles to running downhills. Downhill running requires heavy use of your quad muscles. Building these muscles during training will reduce muscle soreness and potential for injury while racing.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.