I’m sure you’ve read it a hundred times, the best way to see progress is to switch up your workouts. Whether your goal is to see progress in the form of weight loss, speed, strength, or endurance… you have to switch it up.
So today I have three of my personal favorite running workouts that will help you reach whatever goal you have.
Alternating between all three workouts will help you burn fat and shed pounds. I recommend pairing these cardio workouts with strength training for best results. Remember to avoid overtraining by allowing yourself to take rest days!
Endurance: An endurance run would fall under the category of steady state cardio. Depending on your current physical abilities this endurance run may be 20 minutes or a couple hours. Regardless of how long you can personally run for, during this cardio you will run at a consistent speed the whole time. You should be running at a pace that is somewhat challenging, but one that you can also hold for the entire run. Long distance runs are not meant to leave you huffing and puffing. Your heart rate should stay steady for the whole run, no ups and downs. On a scale of 1-10 you should be running at about a 6 the whole time. This should leave you feeling sweaty and tired, but not overly exhausted.
True HIIT: For this workout you will be doing sprints using the Tabata format. Tabata is a style of HIIT that consists of 20 seconds of high intensity cardio and 10 seconds of recovery. A Tabata lasts for 4 minutes, and for that entire period of time you will be alternating between 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off. During those 20 seconds, you are running at a 10 speed you are running as fast as you possible can. A sprint is not a speed that you can carry on for longer than 20 seconds. So if you feel like you can keep going longer than that interval, you are not running fast enough. During the 10-second recovery you should completely stop and shake your legs out. If you are on a treadmill it will be easiest to hop off during this rest period and hop back on after the 10 seconds are over. You can choose to only do one Tabata or do one, walk for 2 minutes and then do one more. This is only 4-10 minutes of cardio. And that is all you need to do. Like I said before, if you feel like you can go longer than this, you are not pushing the speed fast enough. A true HIIT is short and intense.
The Perfect Blend: This next one is the perfect blend of HIIT and endurance. For this workout I want you to start by walking at a 3 speed (brisk walk) for 3 minutes. Then run at an 8 speed for 4 minutes. This is a pace that is faster than your endurance run but slower than a sprint (because remember a sprint can not be held for longer than 20 seconds). This should be a challenging 4 minutes. As an example, I typically set my treadmill between 6-7 mph when I’m running distance. When I do this workout I set it at 8.5 mph. This is a pace that I can hold for 4 minutes, but I feel like I’m going to die afterwards. The speed may be different for you, but the feeling should be the same. After that 4-minute run, you will repeat the pattern again. Do a 3-minute recovery walk at a 3 speed. Then do another 4-minute run. You will repeat this pattern of 3 minutes off, 4 minutes on for 4 cycles, giving you 28 minutes of tough cardio.