A Lesson in HIIT

HIIT (acronym), High Intensity Interval Training: an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods (thank you Wikipedia)

I recently found out that the marathon I am doing in March has a 5 and a half hour time limit.  In the running world, this may seem pretty reasonable to most people but at my current running pace, my estimated finish time would be… 5 and a half hours.  Not good.  So I’ve decided that speed work in the form of HIIT workouts must be done from here on out to make sure that I meet and exceed my goal time so as to not get caught in traffic after the marathon route has closed.  I’ve compiled some examples of HIIT and speed workouts for you all to use in your own training!

Easy:  You are running slow and can easily hold a converstaion
Medium:  You are still comfortable and could maintain this pace for some time but would rather not talk that much.
Hard:  You do not want to talk at this pace and find it difficult in the last few seconds of the time period.  BUT this pace can be maintained through all of the repeats.
Rest:  Don’t do anything.  Stand around.  Enjoy the moment because you won’t enjoy the next!

Note:  You can click on any of the pictures to make them larger (or for printing!)

HIIT1Workout 1, Basic:

Warm up at an easy pace for 5 minutes.  Run hard for 1:30.  Run easy for 1:00.  Repeat 6-8 times.  Cool down with a 5 minute easy jog or walk.


Workout 2, Increasing Hills

Warm up with a walk at 1% incline for 5 minutes.  Jog easy at 4% incline for 1 minute.  Decrease incline to 0% and run medium for 2 minutes.  Increase to 6% and jog easy for 1 minute.  Decrease to 0% and run medium for 2 minutes.  Increase to 8% and jog easy for 1 minute.  Decrease to 0% and run medium for 2 minutes.  Increase to 10% and walk hard for 1 minute.  Decrease to 0% and cool down for 5 minutes.


Workout 3, Time Increments

Warm up for 5 minutes.  Run hard for 1 minute, rest for 1 minute.  Increase each time by 1 minute until you run hard for 5 minutes.  Cool down for 5 minutes with an easy jog or walk.


Workout 4, Endurance

This one isn’t a HIIT workout but will help with speed.  Warm up for 5 minutes walking.  Run hard for 1 mile.  Walk for 5 to 10 minutes.  Repeat for a total of 3 sets.  Cool down with a 5 to 10 minute walk.

The thing about HIIT and Fartleks (a runner’s word for basically the same thing) is that they don’t have to be that strict.  The basic premise is 1) warm up 2) alternate hard and easy 3) cool down.  That’s it.  So if you find a hill near your house, you could warm up and get to the hill.  Run hard up the hill and then jog easy down the hill and repeat a few times.  Then jog back to your house for a cool down.  Or maybe just use telephone poles along the road as your intervals.  Run hard for 1 telephone pole, run easy for 2 or something similar.  It doesn’t have to be complicated but sometimes it is nice to have a plan (especially on the days when you’d rather be on the couch!).

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