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I live in an area with small hills. How do I make the most of these hills when training for a trail race with much larger hills?

One of my favorite races is a 15-mile trail race with 3000+ ft (900+ m) total elevation climb. There are three big uphill segments, 1–3mi (1–5km) long, 500–800 ft (130–230m) climb with grades of 7–10+%.

I'd like to improve my hill training in preparation for this year's race. The best two options I have in my area are:

  1. Multiple hills with comparable or steeper grade, but much shorter: maybe 200 ft climb max. I can repeat these hills in quick succession. This trail is just a few minutes from my home and I can visit it several times a week
  2. One large hill, 500 ft, but it is much steeper (15% grade) and more technical, it's a good challenge uphill but seems difficult to run back down it in a safe matter. I spend a lot of time walking on this hill. I can only make it to this trail occasionally

Are repeated climbs on a small hill comparable to a single climb up a larger hill, in terms of training for miles-long climbs in the race?

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Are repeated climbs on a small hill comparable to a single climb up a larger hill, in terms of training for miles-long climbs in the race?

No, not really, but so what?

If you can visit the multiple hills several times a week then I would do that a lot. I would then add the one large hill as part of your long run(s) on the weekend.

Hills are great strength training for runners so doing lots, and lots of different ones, is great.

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