How to get more out of your running workouts with HIIT

So you’ve read the previous post on how to get the most of out your running in even a shorter amount of time and want to try it yourself.  You won’t just burn more calories with HIIT – you’ll also increase end up aiding your cardiovascular system and increasing your normal running pace.I recommend that you take it easy when adding this in to your workout/running routine; if you are new to running or just beginning to get into shape don’t overdue it!  While High Intensity Interval Training can give you the same workout (or even more of a workout!) in a shorter amount of time – it IS more intense.  You’ll find a lot of references to HIIT on the internet, but her is how I suggest that you do it.

I always recommend that you warm your body up first rather than jumping right into HIIT.  Depending upon the length of your run or workout, the length/duration of this warmup can vary.  What works best for me is to either tack HIIT onto the end of an easier or shorter run (e.g. when I’m helping someone get started and running orpacing along with them) or use it as my workout/run on days when I don’t have time to do one of my “favorite” runs.  For me, that warmup involves a pace run* for 1/2 to 1 mile just to get my body, legs, heart and lungs warmed up and ready for the “intense stuff”.    *More about pace runs in an upcoming post – a simple definition of a pace run is that it is the natural pace you fall into when running for a moderate distance or moderate amount of time.

After getting warmed up, you will move into the HIIT portion of your workout.  I recommend that you follow this general pattern for the next 1-2 miles (remember – take it easy and don’t overdo it when you first start HIIT** ):

  • 30 seconds running at 90-95% of your maximum ability followed by
  • 30-60 seconds of jogging  (easy pace – try to not just walk if possible)
    -At the start of your HIIT workout, keep these recovery portions shorter
    -As your HIIT workout progresses this recovery or slower portion will get longer since your body will need more time to be ready for the next High Intensity phase

7978552_sI recommend 5 to 10 cycles as describe above (depending on your fitness level) followed by a 2 minute jog to allow your heart, lungs and muscles to cool down.  This method will not only burn more calories than a pace run but will also benefit your  cardiovascular system and also will increase your normal running pace and increase your speed in shorter (~5K) races.

By the way – HIIT isn’t just for running – it can benefit your other workouts too.

Questions, comments or want to say something about your experience with HIIT?  Use the reply form below – I’d love to hear from you.


**  I recommend that you follow the guidelines set forth by the Mayo Clinic regarding talking to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you haven’t exercised for some time, if you have health concerns, if you have an existing medical condition, or if you have any symptoms suggestive of heart, lung or other serious disease.   Please don’t take this lightly – our bodies have many complex inter-related systems and you only get one in this life – so make sure you take good care of it!


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