My Favorite Workout: Allison Troxell

Coach Carl’s Introduction:

Allison was one of my very first coaching clients — she saw me quoted in a Runner’s World article, saw I was from Atlanta, and the rest is history! In the years that we’ve worked together, I have consistently been impressed with her tenacity, time management, and will to improve.


I asked her to participate in this series because I think she’s a great example that you can keep running PR’s — even when running is part of a busy schedule. As the mother of two young kids and the president of her production company, she certainly has to work to find the time to run. But she’s made it pay off in a big way, going from 1:49 to 1:36 in the half marathon and running her first BQ.



What is your running history in four sentences or less?


I have been a casual runner for most of my 40+ (ahem) years. Most of my life, I was a casual middle of the pack runner. It has been only in the last 4-5 years that I have been more competitive, running consistently, and training with intensity.


Favorite Workout: BLESSING’S HILLS¬†


My favorite workout is a hill repeat workout — Blessing’s Hills. You have a certain number of timed repeats that you set out to do. The first one, you place an object or find a marker and that sets your goal for each subsequent hill.


The brilliant Coach Carl Leivers taught me this workout in 2016. (Coach Carl note: The brilliant Michelle Blessing taught me this workout back in the early 2000’s.)


I like to do it later in a training cycle when I am feeling my strongest. I think it is a great workout for longer distances, half marathon or longer.



  • Do a full warm-up, ending at a long and moderately steep hill
  • Pick a time (60-90 seconds is good) and run up the hill at tempo effort for that amount of time
  • Mark how far you went and jog back to the start line
  • Run your next rep for the same amount of time and try to go slightly farther
  • Mark your new spot and jog back to the start line
  • Repeat up to 10 times, moving your mark each time and trying to beat it


Allison celebrating her first BQ at California International Marathon


What do you like so much about this workout?


I love/hate this workout for a few reasons. It teaches you to pace well at the beginning and be consistent throughout – if you go too hard during early repeats, you cannot achieve that mark on subsequent ones.


A mental and physical challenge


It is as much mentally challenging as it is physical; you are pushing yourself to get up a hill to a certain landmark and not necessarily hit a time or compete with another runner.


What are the key things to know before trying this workout?


A tip I learned at running camp from the great Lynne Jennings: “chunk” your hills into manageable sections. This is a huge help mentally.


Also, form is important. I like to “go to the arms” to help propel you up the hill.