4 Easy Running Workouts Anyone Can Do

The last thing you want to be told to do is run, because let’s face it: Runners can be pretty intense. They run 10 miles for fun and think planning out their meals is exhilarating. Intense runners are kind of like a cult… one you don’t particularly want to join. As a psychopath runner, I can attest that these things can be fun and exhilarating all at once, but I also know that not everyone relishes in this same enjoyment.

There is no doubt that running is incredible for your body and makes you feel great when it’s (finally) over. But being a runner doesn’t mean dedicating two hours a day, instead it can be quick and easy while being just as affective.

1. HIIT

Getting ready for a HIIT session | Source: iStock

High Intensity Interval Training has been gaining strides over the past few years due. HIIT alternates between high and low levels of intensity over a short period of time. You’ll find that after 20 minutes of HIIT you will be significantly more tired than 20 minutes of running on the treadmill. HIIT keeps your body burning calories even long after you’ve stopped working out.

Men’s Health says that interval training mimics sports with start-and-stop motions with periods of sprinting and light jogging or rest. HIIT isn’t only for running and can be used in swimming, cycling, plyometric exercises, or ellipticals. Interval training doesn’t allow your body to plateau, meaning months of this and you’ll still be seeing results. Plenty of workouts are available online next time you hit the gym.

Treadmill interval workout:

  • 5 minutes of jogging at a comfortable pace (6 to 7 mph)
  • 1 minute of sprints (10 to 12 mph) followed by 1 minute of low-intensity jogging (choose speed)
  • Repeat the 1 minute sprint/1 minute jog 6 to 8 times
  • 5 minute cool down at a comfortable speed

2. Fartleks

Man running a fartlek | Source: iStock

A popular training method for runners of all levels, a fartlek is a rather curious term for those unfamiliar with the lingo. A fartlek is the Swedish term for “speed play” and helps runners get in better shape or achieve a faster PR. Fartleks are typically run on roads or a track using landmarks as guides. For example, someone may use a light post as a guide; they begin jogging slowly, then when they hit the light post, they break into a sprint. Then they hit the next light post and begin to jog again for a set time or distance. According to Breaking Muscle, the idea is to help the body adapt to a higher workload through short bursts of speed and sustained hard effort, mimicking the dynamics of a real running race.

3. Pyramids/ladders

Man working out on a track | Source: Thinkstock

Running pyramids, or ladders, is another type of interval workout where a track can come in handy. Pyramids are when you run a set ascending and descending interval length, or speed if you are on a treadmill. Here are a few examples.

Track pyramid workout:

  • 800 meters
  • 600 meters
  • 400 meters
  • 200 meters

Run these same distances going backward up the pyramid/ladder and repeat as many times as your fitness levels allows.

Treadmill pyramid workout:

  • 1 to 5 minutes: 6 mph
  • 5 to 6: 7 mph
  • 6 to 7: 8 mph
  • 7 to 8: 9 mph
  • 8 to 9: 10 mph
  • 9 to 10: 10 mph
  • 10 to 11: 9 mph
  • 11 to 12: 8 mph

… Well, you get the picture

4. Run/walk

Source: iStock

Adding walking segments is a good idea for beginners | Source: iStock

If you haven’t gotten the point by now, interval running workouts not only blast fat and keep you in shape, but they are the most popular and least intimidating running workouts when you forgo good ‘ol distance running. You can choose to run/walk for however amount of time you choose and make a rule that you run every other minute, every 2 minutes or even once every 5 minutes, but when you run make sure it’s an all out sprint, and when you walk pick up the pace. This is easier to do on a treadmill so you can monitor your actual speed and not slack off when you start walking. This is an even better workout to do outside on a nice day with a friend. Running side by side for half an hour can get really competitive, which makes this the perfect workout to sweat, run, and talk if you need to.

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