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The Complete Running HIIT Workout Guide

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HIIT is a type of interval training exercise. It alternates between periods of fast-paced movements to increase the heart rate to a minimum of 80% of its peak rate, followed by short periods of less difficult exercises.

Interval training was initially developed in the 1950s, starting with a vigorous version referred to as sprint interval training. This type of high-intensity training entailed reaching 100 percent of the maximum heart rate, and was utilized to enhance the abilities of top-tier Olympic athletes.

One’s own body weight can be utilized to provide the necessary resistance, eliminating the need for any extra gear. High-intensity interval training does not need a substantial area, making it perfect for an exercise routine at home.

High Intensity Interval Training exercises can be included in diverse workout regimens including running (in a natural setting or on a treadmill), dancing, rowing machines, exercise bikes, or stair climbers. The length of pauses between activities can be calculated by playing songs that last for one to five minutes.

Words such as Tabata and circuit training are utilized as alternatives to HIIT. Izumi Tabata developed Tabata, which is an approach to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), in the mid-1990s and specifically designed it to enhance the performance of Olympic speedskaters.

He worked out intensely for a short time, followed by a very short break. Gyms and fitness centers that host Tabata classes usually last 20-30 minutes, and inspire members to perform to their top potential – with the emphasis on each individual to modify the intensity based on their own abilities.

Circuit training involves a series of 8 to 12 different exercises that focus on various muscles. The individuals involved switch between each area, doing one workout that goes on for a few minutes.

The key variation between circuit training and HIIT is that while circuit training has a variable level of intensity, HIIT motivates reaching maximum effort by getting one’s heart rate up to 80-90%.

High Intensity Interval Training can be beneficial in terms of reducing body fat, increasing strength and stamina, and improving overall health, but it doesn’t necessarily outperform other workout formats.

The attractiveness of this lies in the fact that it can give you the same physical and mental advantages in a reduced timeframe and with moments of rest incorporated.

Example of a beginner HIIT workout

This workout can be performed at home using just an exercise mat and a timer or clock. The speed of each exercise can be faster or slower, depending on one’s fitness level, but encourages the participant to work to their maximum ability.
A 5-minute warm-up of walking or marching in place should be performed before the workout, and a 5-10-minute cool-down of slower movements allowing the heart rate to gradually decrease, along with stretches, should be included to end the workout.

  • 30 seconds of side lunges, alternating right to left
    • 15 seconds of slow marches in place
  • 30 seconds of squats (variation for higher intensity: jump squats)
    • 15 seconds of slow marches in place
  • 30 seconds of push-ups on the floor (modification: at a 45-degree angle on a sturdy chair, or against the wall)
    • 15 seconds of slow marches in place
  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks (modification: alternate right and left tapping toes to the sides while bringing arms overhead as you would a jumping jack)
    • 15 seconds of slow marches in place
  • 30 seconds of triceps dips using a sturdy chair or bed
    • 15 seconds of slow marches in place
  • 30 seconds of alternating high knees (variation for higher intensity: jogging high knees)
    • 15 seconds of slow marches in place
  • 30 seconds of sit-ups (modification: sit-ups on a stability ball, or abdominal crunches on the floor)

Example workout plan for a marathon runner:

M: Relax T: High intensity interval training + hard strength exercises later that day W: Light jog R: Moderately long jog – last 10 minutes picked up to race pace + strength exercises F: Take a break or focus on mobility or light biking S: Long run S: Run at a slow, comfortable speed

4×4 Intervals

The invention of this item took place at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. It’s super straightforward and designed for running. The team recommends that you should complete the fourth interval with enough energy left in reserve to have done an additional one.

  • Dynamic Warm Up – Followed by 10 minutes easy running
  • Interval – Sprinting for 1 minute at a 85-90% Max HR (heavy breathing, but not so hard you can’t finish the minute)
  • Active Recovery – 3 minutes of light jogging or walking
  • Repeat Intervals 4 times
  • Finish with easy running for 5-10 minutes

Running Tabata Workout

The protocol known as Tabata was invented in the 1990s by Japanese physician Izumi Tabata. Exercises are intended to take a total of 8 minutes. Hearing someone describe a 30-minute Tabata is not accurate. That’s a long HIIT workout.

Tabata requires 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeating the process a total of 8 times.

It is more difficult to do this on a treadmill due to the amount of time it takes for the machine to accelerate and decelerate. Try it on the track or a flat path.

  • Dynamic warm up followed by 10 minutes of easy running and even a few strides
  • Complete 8 rounds of Tabata intervals (roughly 4 minutes of work)
  • Cool down with 5-10 minutes easy running

More experienced runners could perform a Tabata session, then proceed to run at a moderate pace for 5-10 minutes, and then finish with a second round of Tabata.

Scientific 7 Minute Workout

This activity may not involve running, but it’s still beneficial to runners. The Health and Fitness Journal by the American College of Sport’s Medicine first released this exercise routine in 2013, and it gained some popularity following a New York Times piece about it.

You don’t need any gear for this routine, which will switch between upper and lower body exercises. Take this into account as an excellent choice when you have minimal storage space or no gear while going on a trip.

Perform twelve exercises, each for thirty seconds, with ten second breaks in between. Remember to push your intensity for max benefits.

  • Jumping jacks
  • Wall Sit
  • Push Ups
  • Crunches
  • Step Ups
  • Squats
  • Tricep Dip
  • Plank
  • High Knees
  • Alternating front lunge
  • Push-up with rotation
  • Side Plank

Running + Strength HIIT Workout

Admiring the power of haste when you don’t have much time. Muscle plays a vital role in enhancing fitness and metabolism. Intervals are 30 seconds on, 15 seconds rest.

  • Dynamic warm up followed by 10 minutes easy running
  • Alternating reverse lunge holding weights to front kick
  • Sprint (or squat jacks)
  • Jump squat holding weights
  • Sprint (or jumping jacks)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Repeat 4 times

Full Met-Con Workout

If you’re aiming to make a major leap forward, you’ll appreciate this exercise program from Men’s Journal, developed by trainer Prince Braithwaite. This HIIT workout will tax all three of your energy systems. By combining cardio and strength training in the same workout, you can strengthen your body as well as improve your cardiovascular fitness.


  • Shin taps x 30 sec: Start in a plank. Lift hips to down-dog and tap shin with opposite hand.
  • Jumping jacks x 30 sec
  • Walkout to plank x 30 sec: From standing, hinge at your hips and place hands on floor. Walk hands out to plank, then alternate shoulder taps. Walk back up to stand.
  • No recovery periods in the warm up.


  • Dumbbell goblet squat x 45 sec (one weight held at chest)
  • Dumbbell seated shoulder press x 45 sec (two dumbbells pressed overhead from racked position)
  • Kettlebell swings or Romanian kettlebell deadlift x 45 sec
    Repeat for 3 rounds


  • Run x 3/4 of a mile (he had rowing listed)


  • Mountain climbers x 20 sec
  • 10-second rest
  • Burpees x 20 sec
  • 10-second rest
    Repeat for 4 rounds

Example workout routine for someone just focused on fitness:

M: Recharge T: High-Intensity Interval Training W: Full-body heavy lifting R: High-Intensity Interval Training F: Rest day, incorporating another form of aerobic exercise S: Full-body heavy lifting S: Easy run or other form of cardiovascular cross-training

For those with a heavy emphasis on physical fitness, it may be beneficial to alternate between periods of high-intensity interval training and other periods where more steady-state cardiovascular exercises are the focus.

In order to derive the greatest benefits from exercising, it is important to incorporate both strength training, as well as light and intense forms of cardio. This is the optimum solution for increasing physical fitness and burning adipose tissue.


Those who are out of shape, recovering from injury, elderly, obese, or have medical issues should have close supervision by their doctor and a fitness specialist due to the increased intensity of HIIT.

It has been noticed that for those who have been away from physical activity for a while, the intensity of high-intensity interval training is equal to what they usually come in contact with during their regular day-to-day activities.

The American College of Sports Medicine has established assessment methods that can be utilized to discover potential risks associated with the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) format and thereby reduce the danger of unpleasant events.

These checklists provide a list of medical issues which make HIIT workouts inappropriate (e.g. heart rhythm imbalances, diabetes that has not been managed, retinopathy) and any signs to be observed to indicate an early end to a HIIT workout e.g. a major reduction or rise in blood pressure during the routine.

Individuals should adjust their HIIT workout routines to match their fitness level and account for any medical conditions. The majority of studies have concluded that High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an acceptable type of physical activity for individuals of all ages and medical conditions, and it is usually considered to be an enjoyable experience.

An assessment of HIIT relative to its control groups found that it is secure and dependable in supervised situations, as no sudden injury accounts or significant cardiac events were reported. Furthermore, the typical adherence rate in finishing the program was greater than 80%.

HIIT and Health

Studies have proven the effectiveness of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for a variety of medical conditions among people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly.

In studies, HIIT is compared to moderate intensity continuous training. MICT involves movements at a steady rate without any pauses.

During HIIT, people normally raise their heart rate to 80-85% of its peak rate, while with MICT, it’s more likely to reach a rate of 55-70%.

At equal expenditure of energy, certain research has indicated that HIIT may be more advantageous than MICT exercises, as HIIT improves aerobic capacity (the body’s capability to apply more oxygen).

At first, HIIT was just utilized by athletes trying to get better results; however, people with long-term illnesses now view it as an exercise opportunity. It may be possible to augment physical capability, stamina during activities, and the standard of life by taking advantage of it.

Despite the fact that HIIT formats may seem too demanding for people with chronic medical conditions, studies have demonstrated that due to the intermittent rest intervals and its shorter length, HIIT can be a viable and safe choice for those suffering from serious ailments such as pulmonary illness, heart disease, and chronic renal disease but with close supervision.

Changes could be applied, such as introducing certain activities or including longer times for warming up and cooling down for those with heart problems or taking blood pressure medications.

Investigations into these groups revealed that HIT was found to be preferred by them and followed for a longer period than the more moderate MICT approach. Further research should be carried out on vulnerable populations before HIIT is prescribed generally.

Research has indicated that people with major depression or bipolar disorders find High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to be more effective in treating depression than Moderate Intensity Continuous Training (MICT), with no reported negative results.

Benefits of Running HIIT Workouts

Let us discuss the reasons why folks are keen to incorporate some intensity into their schedule. The advantages of High Intensity Interval Training are numerous when the exercises are carried out accurately in combination with taking ample rest.

1. Improved Glycogen Usage

As we age, our hormone levels decrease, resulting in less use of carbohydrates. This implies that instead of our muscles utilizing the energy, it gets stored in the form of fat. No thanks!

The body works to break down glucose in higher amounts during aerobic activity to create energy. This process is called glycolosis. These exercises can assist in providing the stored form of glucose to your muscles, which is beneficial for both energy and hastening the recuperation process.

2. Increase Energy Production

In addition to glycolisis, it can increase ATP levels. ATP is the key energy source for muscular energy, so the more there is present, the greater your energy capacity. The more energy you have, the more successful your workout will be. You can run longer or faster.

It’s not merely concerning a single physical exercise session, but rather enhancing one’s performance across all such activities.

Additionally, creatine levels increase. Creatine is the body’s natural resource for muscle contractions. That implies the capacity to add more strength to a jumping action or lift a heavier weight.

3. Boost Hormones

HIIT training can also boost testosterone and growth hormone. These two muscles are largely responsible for muscle growth. In runners older than 50, incorporating either a day of plyometrics or a HIIT workout can provide assistance with maintaining muscle while their bodies are gradually diminishing production of hormones.

4. Muscle Maintenance

It is essential for people undergoing peri- and post-menopausal stages to still use some intense workouts, ranging from basic plyometrics to beginner HIIT exercises.

Dr. Stacy Simms noted that engaging in these activities (as well as weightlifting) is one of the top methods for building or sustaining muscle. This is going to be an essential part of achieving weight loss and improving performance.

At the age of 30, women begin to gradually decrease their muscle mass unless they make a conscious effort to combat the decline. Having less muscle leads to a decrease in muscle tone, a slower metabolism, a decrease in running speed, and an increase in the chance of sustaining an injury.

5. Time Efficient

As noted these workouts are fast and efficient. For people who don’t have a lot of free time to go out for a jog or exercise, this is an excellent way to burn the most calories in the least amount of time.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information discovered that high intensity interval training (HIIT) regimens burned up to 30% more calories than other routine workouts. Have in mind that doing intense workouts and sustained exercise are also necessary to achieve full well-being and physical fitness.

6. Mental Confidence Boost

Engaging in vigorous exercise can help you to push yourself fiercely in competitions and take it easier on your more relaxed days since you now savor the time of recovery! It’s a brief period in which you can really challenge yourself before you reach the stage of asking yourself, “Is this something I’m capable of doing?”

This will gradually develop your faith in yourself, allowing you to continue at a longer pace or reach the end goal.

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