The Ultimate 30 Minute Run Workout

ultimate 30 minute run

Running can provide a great “bang for your buck” in terms of high quality training in a short amount of time. Here’s an outstanding run workout that will give you everything you need in just 30 minutes.

Your 30 minute run looks like this:

  • 10 minutes easy jog
  • 6 x 1 minute fast hill interval, each followed by a 2 minute easy recovery jog (18 minutes)
  • Additional 2 minute jog


Warm Up

Warm up with 10 minutes of easy jogging, speeding up slowly along the way. Toward the end of the 10 minutes, increase speed for 2-3 bursts of 5-10 seconds each in order to get your legs turning over a little quicker. If you’re running on a treadmill, your normal run should be at a 1% grade (not 0%). Studies have shown that this 1% grade more closely simulates running on flat ground outdoors.

Main Set

The Main Set includes 6 intervals of 1 minute each. If running outdoors, these should be run on a hill. If running on a treadmill, set the incline to 4-6% to simulate a hill. The intervals should be run FAST! The effort should feel similar to how you feel when running a 5k race. Speed won’t be the same, of course, but the effort should be similar. If you haven’t run a 5k, your effort should be a 9 out of 10, which means you’re giving it nearly everything you have. During the interval your breathing will be labored, your legs will burn, and so will your lungs.

At the end of the 1 minute interval, slow down to a very easy recovery jog of 2 minutes. Assuming you’re running on a treadmill, slow the belt speed down and at the same time bring the incline down to 1%. Speed isn’t important here, recovery is the key. At the end of the 2 minute recovery, begin the next interval by increasing the speed as well as the incline.

Cool Down

The cool down after your 6th hill (or hill simulation) interval includes another slow and easy 2 minute recovery jog, then finish your run with 2 more minutes of easy running.

There, you did it! 30 minutes of high quality intervals. These will have the effect of burning a lot of calories, both before and after your run. In addition, hill running forces good technique so you gained that benefit, too. And finally, the hill workout is not only a speed workout but a strength workout as well. Your legs should definitely feel the effort!

Run Recap

And if you’re not a runner, no problem! This same 30 minute workout can be performed while walking. You may want to increase the incline to 10% (or whatever level you’re comfortable with), but the sequence of 1 minute “fast” on a hill, followed by 2 minutes of an easy recovery walk is exactly the same.

After you do this run, I’m sure you’ll agree that you got all you needed in that 30 minutes. Train hard, train often, and have fun!

What do you love about running?

Photo credit: Marine Corps

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