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How To 

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for Runners Guide

High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) is one of the hottest exercise trends out there. It is an excellent way to boost your cardio, build muscle and cut fat by burning calories efficiently. This guide will give you a crash course on how runners can utilize this technique.

1. Some Information To Start
If you are serious about fitness, you have probably heard of HIIT. The basic concept is alternating between short, timed-out intervals of strenuous intensity and similarly timed recovery periods. Many runners use this as an alternative to long runs, as it saves tons of time and can yield similar results. Most runners practice this on a treadmill indoors, to avoid distractions of your local roads or track.

Be sure to stretch beforehand, ease into your routine with a light warmup, stay hydrated, and build up your strength and stamina over time.


2. HIIT For Beginners

Let's start simple with a 10 minute workout:

  • 3 minutes of jogging (6 mph) to get loose and get the blood flowing
  • 30 seconds of hard running (10 mph)
  • 60 seconds of recovery walking (3 mph)
  • Repeat the 30/60 second split 3 times (a total of 4 reps)
  • 1 minute of slow walking to cool down

If you feel faint or cramp up at any point, it's always safer to take a break. Otherwise, push through and don't stop moving your feet for the entire 15 minutes.


3. Advanced HIIT

As you build strength and stamina, you can add reps, steepen the incline on your treadmill and balance out the time ratio between your high and low-intensity intervals. A few months of successful HIIT might lead you to a 20 minute workout like this:

  • 5 minutes of light warm-up
  • 1 minute of hard running, with incline
  • 1 minute of recovery walking, without incline
  • Repeat 5 times (total of 6 reps)
  • 3 minutes of cool-down


4. How Often To Use HIIT

One of the biggest mistakes people make with HIIT is over-use. It may be effective in the short term, but over time it will wear down your body, putting you at risk of injury. Remember: you can't work out when you're hurt.

If you're looking to really push it and exercise 5 days a week, your schedule should look something like this:

Monday: HIIT
Tuesday: Low-Intensity Workout
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: Low-Intensity Workout
Friday: HIIT
Saturday: Low-Intensity Workout
Sunday: Rest Day


Study this guide and introduce HIIT to your weekly routine. With patience and a bit of dedication, you'll find yourself making gains in no time.