4 Effective 30-Minute Running Workouts

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4 Effective 30-Minute Running Workouts

runners on track
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One of the great benefits of running is that you get a lot of “bang for your buck.” Even if you only have a half-hour to fit in a run, you can still burn a lot of calories and work on building your strength, speed, and endurance.

Try some of these quick but effective running workouts. They can all be done in 30 minutes or less!

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Hill Workout

hill runner
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Running hills is an effective, high-calorie burning workout. Running on the treadmill is a great way to train on hills because you can control the grade and your knees and quads won’t get the stress of the downhills.  Try this hill workout:

Warm-Up:  Warm up with 10-minute easy jog or walk. Towards the end of your warm-up, increase your speed for 10 seconds 2 or 3 times, so you get your legs used to turning over faster.

MAIN SET

Work interval:  If you're on a treadmill, increase incline to 3 or 4% and run for 1 minute. If you're running outside, look for a moderate hill that will take about a minute to run up. Run at a hard effort -- similar to how you would feel if you were racing a 5K. Your breathing should be a bit labored and your legs should start to feel tired after a couple of repeats.

Recovery interval:  Lower incline to 1% and your speed, run for 1 minute at an easy pace. If you're running outside, recover downhill. Go at an easy pace (walk if you have to) to get your breathing back down to normal.

Repeat work and recovery intervals 6 more times for a total of 7 work/rest intervals..

Cool Down:  After your last recovery interval, finish with another 6 minutes of easy jogging.

Here's the quick version:

  • Warm-up: 10 minute easy jog
  • Work interval: 1 minute run hard effort @ 3-4% incline
  • Rest interval:  1 minute at easy pace @ 1% incline
  • Repeat work/rest interval 6 more times.
  • Cool down:  6 minutes easy jogging

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30-Minute Ladder Workout

runner on sidewalk
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I love ladder workouts because they always seems to fly by. As you're working on one interval, your mind is distracted because you're thinking about the next.

This ladder workout has you running different paces, which also is an excellent boredom buster! If you're not sure what marathon, half-marathon, 10K, or 5K pace feels like, just focus on running each interval faster than the last. You should feel your heart rate increasing and your breathing should become more labored with each intervals. The key is to not start the first interval too fast so that you're able to increase your pace for the remaining four intervals. 

For your recovery intervals, go at an easy pace, which means a slow jog or walking, if you need it. 

  • Warm-up: 5 minute easy jog
  • Work interval: 5 minutes @ marathon pace
  • Recovery interval:  1 minute at easy pace
  • Work interval: 4 minutes @ half marathon pace
  • Recovery interval:  1 minute at easy pace
  • Work interval: 3 minutes @ 10K pace
  • Recovery interval:  1 minute at easy pace
  • Work interval: 2 minutes @ 5K pace
  • Recovery interval:  1 minute at easy pace
  • Work interval: 1 minute @ hard (sprint) pace
  • Recovery interval:  1 minute at easy pace
  • Cool down:  5 minutes easy jogging

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Run and Strength Combo Workout

donkey kick exercise
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If you want to add more strengthening to your training, but always seem to forget to do exercises post-run, this is a good workout for you. You'll combine run intervals with some muscle-strengthening exercises for a total body workout.

  • Warm-up: 5-minute easy jog
  • Run: 1 minute @ 5K pace
  • Strength: 1 minute squats
  • Run: 2 minutes @ 5K pace
  • Strength: 1 minute walking lunges
  • Run: 3 minutes @ 5K pace
  • Strength: 1 minute donkey kicks
  • Run: 4 minutes @ 5K pace
  • Strength: 1 minute tricep dips
  • Run: 5 minutes @ 5K pace
  • Strength: 1 minute push-ups
  • Cool down: 5-minute easy jog

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Sprint Intervals

Runner on track
Cavan Images

Short bursts of speed helps build strength, increase aerobic capacity, and get your legs used to the faster turnover. This is a fun workout to do outside, whether on a track or road, but can also be done on a treadmill.

For your recovery intervals, go at an easy pace, which means a slow jog or walking, if you need it. 

  • Warm up: 5-minute easy jog
  • Run: 30-second, full-speed sprint
  • Recover: 1 minute at easy pace
  • Repeat the run/recover cycle for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Cool down: 5-minute easy jog

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