Fitness Articles

Running Workouts with Interval Training

Training Programs for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Runners

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Want to boost your fitness level and burn more calories? This program uses intervals (short bursts of higher-intensity activity followed by lower intensity recovery periods), which can be a more effective way to train than exercising at one intensity level. If you're new to running or exercise, start with the Beginner program. As you progress, slowly increase your time and eventually move to the Intermediate and Advanced workouts. Because this is a general program, you may need to adjust the recommended speeds, intensities, and times to suit your fitness level.

If you have access to a treadmill, focus on the pace guidelines, working at your own intensity level. If you run outdoors and do not have access to any tools to measure your pace, then use the intensity guidelines (rate of perceived exertion) as a guide for how fast or slow to run. (Find a full RPE chart and explanation below the workouts.)

Beginner Interval Running Workout
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About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • GME1102
    I always wonder why every time these interval workouts are shared, they always use specific speeds. For someone like me who is 64 and under 5 ft tall with a very short inseam, meaning my stride is also very short, those "jogging" and "running" speeds are not realistic. Why not list a speed range instead, or simply use a perceived effort scale instead? There are MANY of us who do not have natural aerobic and/or running ability, and we work very hard at running, because for some reason, we love it! It sometimes feels as if we're not considered when these workouts are posted. Just my humble opinion....... - 1/20/2016 2:47:19 PM
  • 6 MPH is jogging? I must run really slow then, I can only maintain that speed for maybe a minute or 2. - 1/19/2016 8:23:57 PM
  • MERRYHOUND
    Agree with Goldenrod, way too complicated. I couldn't do this even with a screen and up/down buttons in front of me. New book, Staying Sharp, touts interval training with a simpler pattern, starting at a slightly less challenging level for anyone who is interested. - 1/19/2016 3:37:17 PM
  • LAURENISFIT12
    I've been running for a while yet the beginner looks a little challenging for me. I don't think I can jog for that long. - 4/10/2015 11:43:07 AM
  • Trying to figure out all these times and speeds would drive me crazy, I would have to print it out and take it with me, then actually getting the right rate at the right time would be impossible. Can't figure out how you would do that outside. I have a fitbit but doing rates like that wouldn't show up until I was on the computer. Guess I will just wing it - 10/26/2014 10:21:27 AM
  • Maybe next time some interval training with incline changes? - 7/30/2014 3:21:31 PM
  • Intermediate sounds really doable and advanced sounds like quite a push. I'll have to try one and then the other. Can't wait to push myself with this! - 7/30/2014 3:20:54 PM
  • Sounds very worthwhile. Thanks - 7/26/2014 11:42:26 AM
  • Thanks for sharing these workouts. At the start of this month I began a run/walk interval training program that appears to share some similarities with these workouts and have enjoyed them. I appreciate having additional workout options available.

    Thanks again! - 6/28/2014 5:43:15 PM
  • SMORAN0505
    I am 60 years old. . This scares me a little, i will try this at the gym tonight. I did 60 minutes on the elliptical last night. - 5/13/2014 1:25:50 PM
  • oh boy... i'm a beginner and i trained to jog on the treadmill 30 minutes at 3,37 mph. this is a really big step for me... this beginners training programm is way too hard for me! - 4/21/2014 9:35:26 AM
  • I've been running for about a month and this is a good one. I was able to complete it (though it was somewhat challenging) all the way through without stopping. I don't do it every time, but I try to do it at least once a week. - 1/21/2014 10:09:23 AM
  • Wow! Even the beginner program seems way too fast for me to run. There is no way my RPE would be that low at the recommended pace. - 1/21/2014 8:22:00 AM
  • What would be a good substitute for the numbers for really short people whose little legs can't possibly go 6.7? - 12/11/2013 12:15:16 AM
  • Helpful to see the intervals broken down. I am going to try something close to but not quite intermediate next week.

    One thing I'm confused by is the apparent distinction between jogging (up to and including 6.2 mph) and running (6.5 mph and up). Does this distinction actually exist? Believe me, when I'm going 5.5 mph, I'm running, and to me, 6.2 is a sprint! Personally, I think we're all runners, no matter how fast or how slow we go. - 11/2/2013 9:44:29 AM

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