The 20-minute HIIT running sequence that works up a sweat without taking all day


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Photo: Getty Images/Stanislaw Pytel

There’s no denying that running is a solid workout. It’s been around since the dawn of time as an exercise modality, and is a sure-fire way to work up a good cardio sesh while utilizing muscles all over your body. But if you’re consistently dashing day-in-and-day-out, chances are you’ll start to feel like, well, a hamster on a wheel. That’s where a HIIT running workout comes in: By simply integrating interval-style training into your running routine, you can switch things up and keep on your toes.

High intensity interval training has the perk of incorporating all of your muscles in a short (but, of course, intense) burst of time, and it’s even an ideal way to enhance your runs. “Short, HIIT-style workouts are the best bang for your buck, body, and time,” says Matt Nolan, an instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp. “Often, those who are running longer distances neglect strength training in general because running can be so time consuming. You should still make time to make your legs as strong as they can be so they can handle all of the miles you run on a weekly basis.”

“Often, those who are running longer distances neglect strength training in general because running can be so time consuming.” —Matt Nolan

It’s also important to work other parts of your body (because you’re working more than your legs during runs!). “The same goes for your core and upper body, since you need to be able to aid in the full-body motion that running requires of you to be as efficient and healthy as physically possible,” adds Nolan.

So, generally, HIIT-style workouts can make you more powerful overall. “HIIT training with strength training and lifting has made me a faster runner and fixed a lot of my imbalances,” says Tori Gerlach, professional runner with the Reebok Boston Track Club. “It’s helped with my glute strength, my hamstrings, and overall power. I became a better athlete through varying my workouts.”

Another perk is that HIIT increases your endurance so that you can be an even more badass runner. “To maintain or even gain muscle, you want to incorporate anaerobic exercise,” says Brian Ripka, founder of Ripped Fitness. “The best way to do that is with HIIT-style training about 3 days a week. And for those who love a long run or even a brisk walk, you can still do that on other days and you’ll actually see an increase in your endurance.”

The beauty of it all? HIIT is all about brevity. “They consist of short bursts of all-out effort, and you only need 20-30 minutes,” says Ripka. And if you’re a running fan through-and-through (I feel you), you can achieve the perk of the hardcore workout by, well, running. “Sprints are a great way to get the HIIT workout in,” says Ripka. “You can do them on a treadmill or outdoors.”

Treadmill workout trend
Photo: Getty Images/Blue Jean Images

The HIIT running workout to bookmark

1. Warm up for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Sprint for 30 seconds.

3. Recover at a walk for 45 to 60 seconds, depending on your cardiovascular fitness levels.

4. Repeat this for 20 to 30 minutes.

5. You can increase the incline on your treadmill or find some hills if you’re outdoors to help with the bursts of intensity. Also, if you’re outdoors, you can use landmarks as markers to sprint to.

6. Have fun with it and mix it up.

You could also copy Jessica Alba’s HIIT treadmill workout (which is pretty genius). And this is the truth on whether running burns muscle

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