Uphill threshold training run session

How switching terrain will keep you on-track with your threshold training and lactate tolerance

whats the difference between muscular endurance and aerobic endurance

Your threshold session today is a fast 10 x 400m on a track!’ How does that make you feel? While some will jump at the chance to nail fast, flat, hard reps, knowing the exact pace for each, for many, a session like that will loom like a black cloud in the training diary. So how can you get the fitness you need, without the stress of a session you’ll hate?


What is your threshold?

Threshold is basically the point at which the body can no longer clear the by-products of lactate production, which is needed for energy at high intensity. So if you want to up your time-trial performances over 40sec-60min efforts, threshold training is crucial, and you actually don’t need a track to do it on, just some steep, off-road hills, which are ideal for building threshold.

The changing terrain will keep your mind occupied and distracted from the effort, the session will pass much more quickly, while the incline ensures you hit the 8/10 intensity that you need. It’s a win, win, win!

The session


  • 5min lunges and drills to activate muscles
  • 10-15mins easy
  • 4 x 10secs vigorous; 50secs easy on the flat

Main set

The whole point is that you have freedom to choose the structure for yourself. Break the session up into reps of time working at around 5km race heart rate. Your reps should total a similar amount of time as you would take to run a 5km. Include rest intervals of downhill jogging.


  • 200 steps up, (vigorous), 100 steps down (easy) until you reach the top.
  • Repeat until your hard reps total your normal 5km time.


  • 5-10mins easy on the flat
  • 10-15mins foam roller or massage

Adapt for beginners

Perform shorter reps for less time and increase the amount you do over time. Also, you don’t need to run, power walking up will get the heart rate high enough.

Adapt for Ironman

Turn this into an endurance set with much longer climbing reps and total session time at a lower intensity – in fact, you might choose to walk up too!