You can get a great (and free!) workout simply by lacing up your running shoes, putting on your game face and heading outside. While any run has the potential to be a good run, a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) run — incorporating bursts of speed work with adequate rest time — can give you more bang for your buck.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, each interval can range from a few seconds to a few minutes, and the intensity of the intervals can vary based on your current fitness level.
A HIIT Workout Runners Can Take to the Track
Do this workout at a local track. Note that each lap is 400 meters, or a quarter-mile. Between each interval, walk or jog the prescribed rest. The goal is to recover as much as possible between efforts.
Do: Start with a 3- to 5-minute jog, then perform three sets of 10 to 25 reps of each of the following exercises with one minute rest between each.
Move 1: Jumping Lunge
- Stand tall and step one leg forward, dropping your back knee down into a lunge. Both of your knees should be at roughly 90-degree angles.
- Jump up, switching your legs while you're in the air.
- Land on the ground in a lunge with the opposite leg in front.
- Sink down and jump again, once again switching in mid-air.
- Repeat, alternating legs.
Move 2: Quarter Rotation Tuck Jump
- Start with your feet at hip-width apart. Using your arms for momentum, explode up into a high jump, bringing your knees up to your chest.
- In the air, rotate 90 degrees to your right.
- Land softly and lower down immediately back into a half squat. Explode upward again and keep turning with each jump.
Move 3: Butt Kick
- Keeping your torso erect, begin to jog in place.
- As you're jogging, emphasize your back stride and bring your heel to your butt in an attempt to make contact between the two.
- Run 1 x 800 meters (two laps) with a 400-meter recovery (one lap)
- 2 x 400 meters with a 400-meter recovery between each set
- 4 x 200 meters with a 200-meter recovery between each set
- 8 x 100 meters with a 100-meter recovery between each set
Do: Each move for 30 to 60 seconds, resting 15 to 30 seconds between each. Do three total sets.
- High plank
- Lying hollow hold
- High plank with alternating lateral arm reach
- Bicycle crunches
- Spider climbers
Move 1: High Plank
- Lie on your stomach with your palms on the floor next to your shoulders and your feet flexed with the bottoms of your toes on the floor.
- Take a deep breath and press up into the top of a push-up. Your body should make a straight line from your heels to the top of your head.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Move 2: Lying Hollow Hold
- Begin lying face up with legs fully extended and arms overhead, one palm stacked on top of the other.
- Engage your abs and round your spine, lifting your head, neck, shoulders and legs off the floor to make a C shape with your body.
- Your arms should stay extended by ears.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Move 3: High Plank With Alternating Lateral Arm Reach
- Start in a high plank, with your feet at hip-width distance and your shoulders over wrists.
- Engage your core to keep hips level. Reach right hand out to the right side, keeping palm facing down toward the floor.
- Slowly return to the start.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Move 4: Spider Climber
- Start in a high plank, with your feet together and your shoulders over wrists.
- Bend your right knee out toward your right elbow, scooping your abs in toward your spine and allowing your back to round slightly.
- Tap the elbow, then return to start.
- Repeat on opposite side.
Do: End with a 3- to 5-minute walk, then perform some static stretches, holding each for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Journal of Obesity: "The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males"
- Sport Medicine: "Effectiveness of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT) and Continuous Endurance Training for VO2max Improvements: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Trials"
- Academy of Sports Medicine: "Interval-based exercise: So many names, so many possibilities"
- Environmental Science and Technology: "Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review"