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Running Workouts with Interval Training

Training Programs for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Runners

-- By Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer & Marathon Runner
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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 a certified personal trainer, certified health coach and advanced health & fitness specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • 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
  • CCLARK41809
    Pushing myself i finished the beginner workout today. It was great!..cant wait to work my way up to intermediate. - 10/31/2013 11:38:19 PM
  • CCLARK41809
    I enjoy running and this may be the challenge i was looking for. Thank you SP.. ! - 10/23/2013 5:56:41 PM
  • I just tried the Advanced and it was really tough. I made it through 30 minutes before I had to walk. Loved it though. It was hard to see the cheat sheet I printed from the site, so I made my own spreadsheet with bigger numbers so I could tell where I was in the sequence. Will definitely try to conquer this again. - 3/26/2013 5:08:01 PM
  • I have saved this for much later. I'm just about to complete my 5K jog and I thought I was doing ok at 4mph but after looking at this I am really feeling down. My heartrate is in the 170s at 30 mins of doing 4mph. I can't even imagining doing the beginner workout :( - 10/25/2012 3:03:49 AM
    I know we aren't supposed to ask questions here, but has anyone figured out the total distance of each of these runs? Thanks! :-) - 10/9/2012 12:00:11 PM
  • need to save this for later - 7/5/2012 12:17:07 AM
  • I will definitely do this when am through with the running plan, and after my first 5k. - 4/11/2012 5:06:40 PM
  • I started doing the endurance program a few weeks ago and I love it! I used to only run for distance, but running for time seems so much easier for some reason! I'm always looking to switch things up on the treadmill and this looks like a great workout, I'm going to start the intermediate today!!! - 8/24/2011 11:34:54 AM
  • I began interval training last week. I had been jogging at a rate of 5 mph for 1 mile so the first time I tried this it was difficult and I stopped after 12 minutes (the amount I had been doing). The second day I was able to stay with the entire program and now I'm hooked! LOVE it!! To those who have a difficult time with it I would say you could knock each mph rate down 1 or 2 depending on your ability and maybe do half of the program. Make it your own...don't give up...I lost 6 pounds this past week doing interval training and South Beach. - 1/8/2011 7:52:28 PM
  • I tried the intermediate workout last night and it was too easy for me. I typically run a 10 min/mile and most of this workout was too much jogging for me. Again, I just finished a marathon last week so I'm in pretty good endurance shape... something like this normally wouldn't be easy for me! I think I'm going to continue to interval train, but design a program that's more challenging. - 5/11/2010 1:24:40 PM
  • I've been training for a marathon for the past 4 months. The marathon is this Sunday (ahhh!) but I know I'm ready. After I give my body some time to heal after the marathon, I'm going to start these workouts on the intermediate level 3-4 times/week. I'll post again once I've started! I've heard GREAT things about interval training and dropping weight/fat fast. - 4/28/2010 1:49:46 PM
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