Should You Use High Intensity Interval Training To Improve Your Runs?

Is High Intensity Interval Training good for running

As a runner, you’ve undoubtedly heard about high intensity interval training (HIIT). With all the hype out there, it’s natural to wonder if you should be incorporating these intense bursts into your routine. Well, here’s your guide with the lowdown on whether High Intensity Interval Training is for you.

What Is High Intensity Interval Training?

What Is High Intensity Interval Training?

High Intensity Interval Training refers to short periods of intense exercise followed by recovery periods. It’s a training technique where you give maximum effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods.

This type of training gets your heart rate up and can improve your running performance. The basic idea behind High Intensity Interval Training is simple. You start by doing a short warm-up, like 5–10 minutes of light cardio. Then, you exercise at near-maximum effort for a short period of time, usually between 15 seconds to 5 minutes.

Related: Must-Do Cardio Exercises For Runners

Related: Why Is Cardiovascular Fitness Important?

After that, you recover at a moderate level for about the same amount of time. You repeat this pattern for a total of 15–30 minutes, a few times a week. The intense bursts can involve exercises like:

  • Sprinting
  • Hill repeats (running up a hill)
  • Jump rope
  • Jump squats
  • Burpees

he recovery periods often involve walking, light jogging, or stationary cycling. The key is to push yourself during the intense intervals and keep your heart rate up. Over time, the intense intervals may get longer and the recovery periods shorter as your endurance improves.

High Intensity Interval Training workouts are tough but effective. Studies show they can significantly improve your speed, power, and endurance. They also burn more calories in less time and boost your metabolism for hours after exercising.

The intense intervals increase your heart rate and metabolism, even while at rest. High Intensity Interval Training is great for runners because it improves your power, speed, and efficiency. It helps your body to run faster for longer periods of time and to walk for a longer period of time. Many runners use High Intensity Interval Training to enhance their performance for long runs.

If you want to improve your running and take it to the next level, High Intensity Interval Training may be just the workout for you. The short, intense intervals can transform your performance and endurance over time. But start slowly and build up your endurance to avoid burnout or injury. With the right plan, High Intensity Interval Training can be a game changer for runners.

Related: Tired of Short Runs? Learn How to Run More Miles

Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training for Runners

benefits of high intensity interval training for running

High intensity interval training is characterized by short bursts of intense exercise alternated with rest phases. For runners like you, incorporating High Intensity Interval Training into your routine can provide major benefits and boost your performance.

Improved Speed and Endurance

High Intensity Interval Training helps increase your VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise. A higher VO2 max means you can run faster without getting winded. High Intensity Interval Training also strengthens your heart and improves circulation, allowing more oxygenated blood to reach your muscles. This enhances your endurance and stamina.

Related: Unimagined Running Power Secrets for Improving Stamina

Burns More Calories

burn more calories with the help of high intensity interval training

Due to the intense nature of High Intensity Interval Training, it burns more calories than steady-state cardio. This can aid weight loss and improve your power to weight ratio. The increased calorie burn also continues even after your workout ends due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

Related: Metrics for Tracking Calories You Burn Walking Per Mile

Builds Power

High Intensity Interval Training workouts that incorporate exercises like hill sprints, lunges, and box jumps build power in your legs. This makes you a stronger runner, so you can accelerate faster and run up hills more efficiently. Building power also helps prevent injuries since your muscles and connective tissues become better able to handle the high-impact forces from running.

Related: 5K Calorie Burn Simply Explained

Improved Performance

improve your performance with the help of high intensity interval training

Runners who incorporate High Intensity Interval Training into their training often see substantial improvements in their speed and race times. The metabolic and muscular benefits of high intensity interval training translate directly to better running performance. High intensity interval training also helps strengthen your mind-body connection, so you can push through when a run feels challenging.

High Intensity Interval Training may not be easy, but the rewards for runners are well worth it. Start slowly by adding one or two High Intensity Interval Training sessions to your weekly routine. You’ll quickly notice the benefits to your speed, endurance, and power.

Soon, shaving seconds off your best time or tackling hills with ease won’t seem so impossible. Consistency is key, so stick with it, and you’ll be crushing your running goals in no time!

High Intensity Interval Training Workouts for Runners

To improve your running, high intensity interval training is one of the most effective ways to boost your speed and endurance. The key is choosing High Intensity Interval Training workouts specifically tailored for runners.

Hill Repeats

add Hill Training for a good run and this is also a high intensity interval training

Find a hill that takes 1 to 2 minutes to run up at a moderate pace. After a good warm-up, sprint up the hill as fast as you can, then jog or walk back down to recover. Repeat this 6–10 times. Hill repeats build power and strength in your legs.

Fartlek Runs

“Fartlek” means “speed play” in Swedish. For a fartlek run, simply pick up the pace for 1 to 2 minutes, sprint for 30 to 60 seconds, then recover by jogging. Repeat this 10–15 times during your run. Fartlek runs boost your speed and endurance in a fun, unstructured way.

Tabata Intervals

Tabata Intervals is also high intensity interval training that is good for running

Tabata intervals involve sprinting for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, and repeating for 8 cycles (a total of 4 minutes). After a warm-up, find a track or open space and sprint as fast as you can for 20 seconds. Recover for just 10 seconds, then sprint again. A tabata workout is intense but effective for increasing your power and push-off.

Tempo Runs

Once a week, incorporate a tempo run into your routine. After warming up, run at a moderately hard pace (about 80–85% of your max heart rate) for 3–6 miles. Tempo runs help you sustain a faster speed for longer periods, which translates directly to better endurance on race day.

The key to effective High Intensity Interval Training for runners is starting slowly and building up intensity over time as your fitness improves. Try one of these workouts 1-2 times a week, and you’ll notice steady gains in your speed, power, and endurance, taking your running to the next level.

Related: Experience the Tempo Run Difference

Tips for Incorporating High Intensity Interval Training Into Your Running Routine

To add high intensity interval training to your running routine, start slowly and build up your endurance over time. Start off gradually and avoid rushing into intense workouts.

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Start with Short Intervals

Begin by adding just 1-2 minutes of higher intensity running during your normal run. For example, pick up your pace for 1 minute, then return to your normal speed. Do this a few times when you are running. This helps you get used to running at a higher intensity without overdoing it.

Increase Interval Length Over Time

As your endurance improves, slowly increase the length of your high intensity intervals to 2-3 minutes. A good rule of thumb is to not increase your interval length by more than 30 seconds at a time. This gradual buildup will prevent injury or burnout.

Related: Increase Your Stamina For 200m Run And Win The Race

Include Recovery Periods

It’s important to incorporate recovery periods in between your high intensity intervals. Run at your normal, easy pace for 2-3 minutes between intervals. This gives your body time to recover, so you can run the next interval with maximum effort.

Aim for 2-3 HIIT Sessions Per

Week For the best results, incorporate high intensity interval training into your running routine 2-3 times a week, with rest days in between for the most effective recovery. Be sure to stay hydrated, stretch, and strength train in addition to your runs.

High Intensity Interval Training Running Workouts

Here are a few High Intensity Interval Training workouts for runners and running to get you started:

  • 5 min easy run, 1 min hard run, 2 min easy run. Repeat 6–8 times.
  • 10 min easy run, 90 sec hard run, 3 min easy run. Repeat five times.
  • 15-minute easy run, 2 minutes hard run, 3 minutes easy run. Repeat four times.
Workout NameDescriptionDurationSets/RepsNotes
Easy Jog & Sprints5 min easy jog, 1 min hard run, 2 min easy jog.20 min6-8 setsBeginner-friendly; gradually increase intensity.
Moderate Jog & Hill Repeats10 min easy jog, 90 sec hard uphill run, 3 min easy jog.30 min5 setsBuilds power and strength in legs. Choose a moderate hill.
Steady Jog & Intervals15 min easy jog, 2 min hard run, 3 min easy jog.35 min4 setsLonger intervals for improved endurance. Adjust intensity as needed.
Hill SprintsSprint up a steep hill, walk back down.20 min6-10 repsHigh-intensity for power and leg strength. Adjust hill steepness.
Fartlek Run30-45 min run with bursts of 1-2 min sprints every few minutes.30-45 minVariesFun and unstructured, improves speed and endurance.
Tabata IntervalsSprint in place for 20 sec, rest for 10 sec. Repeat 8 cycles (4 min)4-8 min (multiple rounds)Extremely intense, builds power and VO2 max. Start with fewer rounds.Fun and unstructured, improves speed and endurance.
BurpeesDo burpees as fast as possible for 1 min, rest and repeat.10-15 minMultiple roundsFull-body cardio blast, high intensity. Choose appropriate pace.

The key is to start slowly, build up your endurance over weeks and months, stay consistent, and avoid overtraining. By adding high intensity interval training to your running routine, you’ll boost your speed, power, and endurance for your upcoming 5k, 8k, 10k, half marathon, or for normal run. But take it one interval at a time.

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Related: How to Train and Improve Your Average 5k Time

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My Thoughts

So, should you incorporate high intensity interval training into your running routine? Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself if it works for your goals and schedule.

But with all of its proven benefits for runners—from speed and endurance gains to enhanced fat burning to improved mental toughness—it’s certainly worth experimenting with.

Start slowly, listen to your body, focus on good form, and don’t overdo it. The right balance of High Intensity Interval Training and regular training could help take your running to exciting new levels. Just keep learning, stay consistent, and, most importantly, have fun out there!

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