If you’re not familiar with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), you should really get acquainted. The general concept is pretty straight-forward: instead of a long, steady-state, endurance workout, alternate periods of high intensity (i.e., >80% of your recommended max heart rate) with periods of recovery (40-50% of your heart rate). Find your recommended heart rate here.
This concept comes up quite a bit on Couch-to-5k type programs, and if you’re a runner, you’re probably doing this without realizing it. If you’ve ever sprinted for a brief period while going for a jog, you’ve done some HIIT.
The benefits of HIIT are numerous. Not only do you improve your cardiovascular and aerobic health, but it is faster and more efficient than a steady-state workout. Research has also shown that HIIT burns more calories, and continues to burn calories for longer after the workout period has stopped. And I can say from experience that having a varied workout makes the time go by faster, and keeps the workout more enjoyable.
If you’re not sure where to start, try this sample HIIT workout. I do it on my treadmill at home, but all you need is a stopwatch and somewhere to run. Find a speed that’s a challenge but that you can push even faster when you hit those high-intensity intervals.
PositiveHealthWellness.com has a really great and exhaustive HIIT for Beginners article as well. Check it out, here.